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Dr. Allan Mishra | Knee Pain Diagnosis



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 Definition  Pain felt in the knee NOT caused by a problem in the knee.

Sometimes, pain that is perceived to be around the knee may be caused by something other than a problem in the knee. This is known as referred pain.
Causes Referred knee pain may be the result of a herniated disc in the back, arthritis in the hip or even clots in the leg. It is important to distinguish pain that arises from knee pathology from other potential causes. Referred pain may also coexist with a problem in the knee. A pinched nerve for example may result in pain behind the knee and a torn piece of cartilage inside the may cause pain in the front of the knee. These two problems together can lead to pain that is felt all over the knee.

Model of Lumbar (low back) Disc Herniation

Pinched Nerve in Back (Lumbar Radiculopathy) Outline
Diagnosis Referred knee pain must be a diagnosis of exclusion meaning that other causes of pain must be ruled out first. So, initially your doctor may carefully evaluate you for problems associated with your knee. A detailed history asking about back, hip or leg pain will also be done looking for other causes. If a specific anatomic area (such as the back) needs further evaluation, x-rays or perhaps MRI scanning may be done.

X-ray of Hip Arthritis

MRI of Lumbar Spine
Treatment Treatment of referred pain is based on the problem that is causing the pain. A clot in the leg causing pain in the back of the knee requires immediate intervention, possibly in the form of blood thinning medication. Pain in the front of the knee from hip arthritis may lead to surgery if needed. A low back strain or a disc herniation that causes knee pain may require physical therapy and antiinflammatory medication initially.

Prevention of referred pain again is based on the specific problem. For example, hamstring stretching may ease or prevent some cases of acute low back strains.