Monday, April 11, 2011

Surgeon Offers Tips On Treating And Managing Knee Pain

For the millions of Americans suffering from knee pain, tips to differentiate between typical aches and pains and when you should see a doctor. NY1 Health and Fitness Reporter Kafi Drexel filed the following report.

Two years ago, 70-year-old Marlene Haselbauer's right knee gave out leaving her in an increasing amount of pain and discomfort.

"I couldn't walk my dog. I had to get a dog walker," says Haselbauer. "My apartment is one flight up. I have now counted 30 steps up and down. And living in Washington Heights which are hill up and down I had to think about where I am going to walk which is not going to be hilly, and there's none."

The problem turned out to be arthritis which ultimately led Haselbauer to have knee replacement surgery. While most patients can be treated with everything from medication to physical therapy, surgery was the fix for Haselbauer.

According to her surgeon, Dr. Jeff Geller of New York Presbyterian Columbia Medical Center, knee problems – particularly those associated with arthritis – are one of the top reasons patients head to the doctor.

"Upwards of 90 to 100 million people a year in this country deal with some sort of form of arthritis and some sort of pain associated with arthritis," says Geller. "So by far it is the most common."

Knee problems can range from sprain and swelling to challenges as severe as arthritis where the cartilage protection in the knee joint completely wears out.

Because everyone experiences aches and pains from time to time, one of the biggest challenges patients have is figuring out when to finally see a doctor. Doctor say any pain, swelling or limping that lasts longer than a few days to a few weeks should probably get checked out. There are also preventive measure to strengthen knees too.

"Listen to your body," Geller recommends. "If your knee starts to hurt don't overdo it. Typically keeping yourself active and keeping the muscles in the legs reasonably strong with some sort of light exercise really goes a long way to help protect the knees."