When to Consider Surgery for Your Ongoing Knee Pain

When most people think of knee surgery, they think of knee replacement surgery for joints badly damaged by arthritis. While replacement surgery is a great solution for some people, it’s not the only type of surgery that can relieve chronic knee pain.

Our team at Texas Orthopaedic Associates is skilled in different types of knee surgery. We help patients at our offices in Dallas, Plano, Keller, Weatherford, and Fort Worth, Texas, by relieving their pain and restoring normal joint function. We’re also experienced in conservative, nonsurgical treatments.

Here’s how to tell when surgery may be the best choice for getting you back on your feet.

How knee pain happens

Sometimes, knee pain happens as the direct result of a traumatic injury, like a fall or a car accident. Typically, this is acute knee pain — it comes on rapidly and resolves fairly quickly with optimal treatment.

But many people with ongoing, chronic knee pain develop their symptoms over time as a result of years of wear and tear inside the joint. As your largest weight-bearing joints, your knees are subjected to a lot of use on a daily basis.

Over time, these repetitive stresses can damage the cartilage lining the joint or cause tiny tears in ligaments or tendons that support the knee. Wear and tear can also cause joint inflammation.

Treating knee pain

Many of the injuries that cause knee pain can be treated conservatively with options like:

  • Oral medicines to relieve pain and inflammation
  • Joint injections to reduce inflammation or improve joint function
  • Knee bracing to give the knee time to heal
  • Activity modification
  • Physical therapy to improve healing and function

Most people respond best to a combination of therapies along with regular office visits to assess  progress and adjust treatment as needed.

When surgery makes sense

But what if your knee pain is caused by a more severe injury that doesn’t respond to conservative treatment? What if your knee pain is chronic, interfering with your regular activities or making it hard to sleep? Or what if your doctor isn’t sure what’s causing your pain, and diagnostic imaging doesn’t provide a full answer? Then surgery might be a good option for you.

Our team performs many surgeries using knee arthroscopy, a minimally invasive approach that uses tiny incisions and a flexible instrument called an arthroscope. At the end of the scope is a tiny camera that captures real-time video of the inside of your knee joint and the area surrounding it.

The images are transmitted to a monitor. By looking at the monitor, your surgeon can perform your surgery without the need for large incisions. Smaller incisions typically means faster healing and less discomfort during recovery.

Our doctors are experienced in using arthroscopy to diagnose the cause of knee pain and to perform many types of knee repairs. Some types of repairs are made at the same time as your diagnostic arthroscopy, avoiding the need for a second procedure.

Find relief for your chronic knee pain

Ongoing, persistent knee pain rarely gets better on its own. In fact, without medical treatment, chronic knee pain often gets worse, which means more discomfort, more disability, and more joint damage over time.

Surgery isn’t always needed, but it can be the right option for certain types of knee problems or for diagnosis of complex knee problems. To learn more about knee surgery or to find a solution for your chronic symptoms, book an appointment online or by phone at Texas Orthopaedic Associates today.