Could a Knee MRI help Solve Your Knee Pain Mystery?

There are areas of the body that you use every day without even realizing their importance. Sure, we know we need our hands and eyes, but do you ever thank your knees when you jump up to reach a shelf or take a knee to get that lost shoe under the bed? Knees, like our elbows, allow us to have a greater range of motion and to perform some of our most basic functions like walking, running and squatting. However, with all this movement, knees can take a real beating. Knee pain is one of the most common complaints orthopedic surgeons receive and because of how much we use our knees, knee pain can be debilitating with cures few and far between.

Knee pain can be the result of a number of conditions. Before we begin, some basic anatomy of the knee might be helpful in explaining these conditions. The knee is the connecting structure between the tibia and the femur bones, dependent on the fluidity and motion of certain elements, namely bone, muscle, tendons, ligaments and cartilage. When we do things like run or jump, our knees act like shock absorbers, taking the pressure of our movements and molding back into place. When there is pain in the knees, doctors must look at multiple possible causes and use knee MRI technology to find the answer.

1. Ligaments

In the knee, there are four crucial ligaments; anterior cruciate and posterior cruciate on the back of the knee as well as the lateral collateral and medial collateral on the sides of the knee. Ligaments are fibrous connective tissue that connect bones to other bones, keeping them stable. Stretched or torn ligaments are extremely painful and make it almost impossible to walk. Commonly experienced in athletes, torn ligaments require surgery and physical therapy in order to regain full range of motion.

2. Worn Cartilage

Cartilage is another kind of connective tissue in the knee but cartilage acts at the shock absorber for the different activities of the knee, protecting the bones and ligaments in the knee. We have cartilage in many different parts of the body like ears, joints, and the nose. It is a soft material that can be worn down with overuse. Professional athletes, football players and soccer players in particular, are known for worn down cartilage in the knee. The problem with worn cartilage is that once it is gone, it is gone. When people speak of torn cartilage they are usually referring to a torn medial meniscus, a band of cartilage that lies between the tibia, femur, fibula and patella.

3. Gout

Gout is a form of arthritis that can affect people of all ages. Uric acid fills up in the blood and then inflames the body’s joints, particularly the feet. It is very painful to perform normal everyday acts like walking or running. Often it will look like a bunion on the side of the foot except that it will be more malleable from fluid rather than bone.

4. Tendinitis

Tendons attach muscles to bone or in some cases to structures like the eyeball. When they become torn or inflamed, movement is impaired. The quadriceps tendon and the patellar tendon connect the patella or kneecap, to the muscles of the leg, allowing our knees to bend and the patella, which is totally disconnected without these tendons, to move and still protect the interior of the knee.

5. Arthritis

Arthritis is a painful hardening of the joints. A common occurrence for us as we age, as the bones in the joints continue to harden, movement becomes more impaired and painful. There are therapies, prescription and holistic approaches to dealing with the condition but there is currently no cure for arthritis.

The pain you are experiencing could be any one of these conditions. Make an appointment with your local orthopedic physician about what kinds of treatments you might need to help alleviate or manage your knee pain. Most will recommend that you have an knee MRI performed in order to rule out some of these conditions because MRIs are highly accurate for examining the soft tissues of the body in great detail.

You have a choice when it comes to deciding where to have your MRI performed. For more information about MRIs at Doctors Imaging in Metairie, Louisiana, visit our MRI Service Page or call us at 504-833-8111 to speak with our office representative.

Understanding Arthritis Treatment and Medical Imaging

Arthritis is a common and painful condition that affects millions of people. For most, arthritis begins its onset after one has reached a certain age but for many, it can begin much earlier. Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis but there are medications, therapies and topical solutions that can help alleviate the pain and help people continue to have a respectable standard of living.

What exactly is arthritis? Arthritis, in essence, is the hardening or calcification of the joints of the body. Arthritis can affect any part of the body that has a jointed connection. There are over 100 different types of arthritis. Arthritis or osteoarthritis is defined as a painful inflammation or stiffness of the joints commonly caused by age, genetic condition, or health problems. Every movement that is made with your body is calibrated by joints. They help your muscles and bones move and stretch the way you want them to. When arthritis takes over these areas, inflammation and painful swelling causes the bones to move, stiffen and twist.

As one can imagine, this is a very painful condition. Because joints are necessary to most movement, when arthritis affects areas like hands, feet and knees, many people have difficulty staying mobile, keeping their jobs or just maneuvering through their daily activities like making food, opening doors or walking down the street.

Most people think that the elderly are the only ones that can fall victim to arthritis. In actuality, people of all ages can develop the condition. The most common form of arthritis for younger individual to notice is rheumatoid arthritis. RA happens when the body’s antibodies begin to attack the body’s joints. There is no cure so many people find it difficult to hold down steady job and family interactions without some form of assistance.

Since there is, unfortunately, no cure for arthritis, what can those who are afflicted do to relieve their pain and pressure? Many doctors and studies recommend exercise a very beneficial way to promote energy and to decrease the painful swelling. As the body’s heart rate increases, so does blood flow. Blood flow entering these arthritic joints is key to help alleviating the pain.

Swimming is another great option for arthritis treatment. The buoyancy of the water and the coolness or warmth of your pool or hot bath can help relieve pain and allow for movement. In addition, if one has arthritis in the ankle or feet, floating on the water can help with pain management, mobility, weight control and general mood and energy improvement. Some use topical creams and pain relief salves to help with their pain, others use pharmaceuticals or holistic approaches. Whatever works to help you feel better, do so.

For many, keeping an eye out on the progression and changes of their arthritis can be helpful toward learning about new medication and therapies that may provide comfort. Surgery can sometimes help with arthritic joints like the shoulder, knee, the spine and the hips. This can be done with medical imaging procedures such as X-rays and MRIs. With X-rays, doctors can see how arthritis is progressing, how it is affected the others bones in the area and what the effects will be in the future of this condition. Remember that arthritis is common, most people have it in some part of their body. For many that lived a rambunctious life as a teenager they will find later on in life that the area in which a break occurred, now has arthritis. It’s a painful lesson but it can also help to reinforce the importance of safety equipment like helmets and shin guards.

MRIs are another form of medical imaging that could a lot of benefits for those searching for arthritis solutions for when the condition increases in degree, the pain and swelling can cause blood vessels and muscles to become blocked and tensed. By using magnetic science  combined with computer technology, MRIs are a non-invasive, non-radiation procedure that help doctors determine whether a surgical procedure may bring relief from severe arthritic pain.

Living a life with arthritis is difficult no matter what age or what type of arthritis you have. While a cure is still on the horizon, the best thing that those who have this condition can do is to carefully monitor it as well as to find the safest solutions to help you manage your pain and continue on with your quality of life.

Visit us at Doctors Imaging in Metairie or make your appointment online to get an MRI or X-ray for your arthritis.