Welcome to a new addition to The Luther Register, in partnership with Olsen Orthopedics. This will be a “Dear Abby” style question and answer column. Luther Register readers can ask the questions and Dr. Todd Olsen, who lives in Luther and operates a successful practice in Oklahoma City, will answer.
To start us off, we have “Limping in Luther,” asking about her knee pain. Submit your question for Dr. Olsen to answer at the end of the article.
Dear Dr. Olsen,
I am a 50 year old female with left knee pain. I don’t remember any specific injury, but the pain seems to be getting worse over the course of the last six months or so. Occasionally it feels ok, but it seems the more I do, the more it hurts. Also, if I twist my knee with my foot on the ground it really hurts. What can I do?
Limping in Luther
Statistically, the most common cause of knee pain in your age group is one of two things: either osteoarthritis, or a tear of the meniscus. Osteoarthritis is a progressive “wear and tear” of the articular cartilage. It is not a dangerous process, but it does tend to be progressive over time and it is one of the most common causes of knee pain and functional limitation. The meniscus is a ring of cartilage in the knee that, if torn, can also be a cause of pain, popping and catching, and functional limitation.
The first step in evaluation is a thorough physical exam and a set of knee xrays. The xrays need to be performed in a standing position to give good information about the degree of osteoarthritis in the knee. Depending on the severity of the osteoarthritic changes evident on the xrays, and depending upon the findings of the physical exam, you and your doctor can then discuss treatment options. As a general rule, it is wise to explore non-operative options before considering surgical options. In most cases of knee osteoarthritis and even small meniscal tears, non-surgical options are often most appropriate and can get you back to a more normal and comfortable level of activity.
Submit your health questions here.