Knee Pain

Dr. James - Orthopaedic Surgeon in Singapore

Medically reviewed by Dr. James Tan

Characterised by discomfort, pain, and tender feeling around the knee joint, knee pain can have many underlying causes.

25% of adults past the age of 50 experience pain. In any way, the ache cannot be ignored, whether it’s a dull pain or a sharp stabbing one.

This pain directly impacts mobility and quality of life. A short-term pain management approach can be adopted to relieve pain. However, our specialised doctors perform long-term therapy through knee pain treatment in our Singapore clinic.

For our readers looking for expert-level tips on the right time to see a doctor for knee pain treatment, tests they should get done, and the treatment path they need to follow, we have it covered here. Prevention techniques are also highlighted to avoid this issue for better health.

Diagnosing Knee Pain and Knee Pain Treatment in Singapore

If you are experiencing knee pain, it is always a good idea to get a diagnosis and treatment from a knee pain specialist in Singapore so that adequate treatment can be started. The doctor will carry out a physical exam, may order a few imaging tests, and will then diagnose your condition and advise treatment accordingly.

Options for knee pain treatment in Singapore can include conservative measures, surgical options, and alternative pain management modalities. Let’s go through each of these options one by one.

Conservative Treatment Options for Knee Pain

Some mild cases of knee problems may respond well to conservative treatment options while advanced cases may require surgical intervention. Your doctor may prescribe the following non-surgical modes of treatment.

Home Remedies

Mild cases of knee pain can be treated at home by adopting the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) method. Giving your knee rest will allow it to recover more quickly and avoid making the injury worse. Applying ice on the knee joint for 15-20 minutes several times a day can help reduce inflammation and pain. Applying a compression bandage on your knee can also help control swelling and reduce pain. Finally, elevating your knee above your heart level by placing a pillow underneath the knee while lying down can also help with the inflammation.

Medication

For mild to moderate pain, the doctor may prescribe over-the-counter pain relievers like Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen sodium. For more severe pain, he may prescribe stronger pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medicines. Topical creams and gels that contain pain relief elements may also be prescribed to be rubbed on the knee.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is an important element of knee pain treatment, management, and recovery. A therapist can guide you to do specific exercises and stretches to strengthen the muscles around the knee and improve its mobility and flexibility.

Injections

Sometimes, doctors may prescribe knee injections in Singapore as they have proven to be effective for knee pain in some cases. An injection is administered directly into the knee area where it offers effective pain relief. The types of injections include:

  • Corticosteroids: A steroid injection in the knee joint can help relieve pain brought on by arthritis. This type of pain relief is effective for a few weeks after administration.
  • Hyaluronic Acid: Hyaluronic acid acts as an excellent lubricant to lubricate your knee joint to improve mobility and reduce pain. Hyaluronic injections have shown good effectiveness among individuals suffering from knee pain due to arthritis. Its effects can last from six months to 3 years.
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP): PRP injections have been shown to be effective in treating damaged tissues, ligaments, and tendons. PRP injections can be given in case of a meniscus tear or osteoarthritis.

Assistive Devices

In some cases of knee pain, the doctor may recommend assistive devices to keep the weight off the painful knee or to help stabilise the knee while walking. These can include knee braces and arch supports that help distribute the body weight evenly. In case of traumatic injury to the knee, you may have to use a cane or crutches to avoid putting your full weight on the affected knee.

Knee Pain Treatment in Singapore

A large fraction of the population worldwide suffers from knee pain.

Are you trying to find effective arthritis treatment in Singapore? Don’t delay another day! The knee arthritis specialists and surgeons here at Ray of Health will create your personalised treatment plan and have you on the way to a life of pain relief. We also provide treatment for sports injuries like golfer's elbow and torn meniscus.

Contact us online, call +65 6235 8781, or connect with us on WhatsApp at +65 8028 4572. You can also talk to us by clicking the button below.

Locations

Camden Medical

1 Orchard Boulevard, #09-06

Singapore 248649

Mount Alvernia Hospital

820 Thomson Road

Medical Centre D #05-60

Singapore 574623

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Surgical Knee Pain Treatment Options

Surgical knee pain treatment in Singapore may be considered when non-surgical treatments have failed to relieve pain or improve function or if the injury or damage is so significant that it requires surgery at all costs. The main types of surgical procedures used for managing and treating knee pain include the following:

Arthroscopic Surgery

Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure where a small tube (arthroscope) is inserted into a tiny incision on the knee. The arthroscope has a tiny camera attached to the end that helps the surgeon to visualise the knee area and carry out the surgery. Thin surgical instruments are inserted through other tiny incisions and the procedure is carried out. An arthroscopic knee surgery may be performed in case of

  • Torn meniscus
  • ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear or PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) tear
  • Inflammation in the lining of the joint
  • Misalignment of the kneecap
  • Broken cartilage in the knee joint
  • Repair and reconstruction of damaged cartilage
  • Minor fractures of the bones in the knee

Partial Knee Replacement

A partial knee replacement surgery or Unicompartmental Knee Arthroplasty is a surgery to replace a portion of a knee that is damaged. This surgery is performed in cases when only a part of the knee is damaged and an effort is made to preserve as much part of the natural knee as possible. During this surgery, the damaged sections of the knee joint are removed and they are replaced with artificial joints (prosthesis) made of metal and/or plastic. This is an open surgery.

Total Knee Replacement

Total knee replacement or Knee Arthroplasty is done when there is significant damage to the knee joint and corresponding bones. During this surgery, the damaged part of the knee joint and cartilage from the adjoining bones and kneecap are removed and replaced with artificial joints made from metal alloys, high-grade plastics, and polymers. Total knee replacement surgery is done when the knee is severely damaged by arthritis, torn cartilage, torn ligaments, and fractures.

Osteotomy

Osteotomy of the knee is a surgery that is done to treat instability in the knee caused by arthritis. In this surgery, the bones of the knee are cut and realigned to relieve pressure on the knee joint. There are two types of knee osteotomy:

  • Tibial osteotomy is the surgery that is done on the bone of the lower leg below the kneecap.
  • Femoral osteotomy is done on the bone of the upper leg above the kneecap.

Depending on the type of surgery and the kind of damage, the doctor may remove a wedge of your bone or open a wedge on the painful side of the knee. The surgeon may also perform a fixation in which staples, plates, or screws may be used.

Revision Knee Surgery

Revision knee surgery is the surgery that a doctor will carry out if your previous knee replacement surgery failed due to infection, wear and tear, or any other factor. This is a more complex surgery as compared to a total knee replacement as it involves the removal of some or all parts of the old prosthesis and replacing them with new parts.

Cartilage Repair, Regeneration, and Replacement

The knee cartilage if damaged does not heal on its own as it does not contain any blood vessels. Bleeding and blood flow are essential for healing, therefore if the knee pain is caused by an injured cartilage, the doctor can attempt to repair, regenerate, or reconstruct it. During a knee cartilage repair surgery, the surgeon will remove any loose pieces of cartilage that may be irritating the joint. Moreover, the surgeon may use special tools to smooth the cartilage surface to reduce joint friction. This surgery is called knee chondroplasty.

There are three types of cartilage regeneration techniques:

  • Knee Microfracture: During this process, the surgeon uses a sharpened tool to pierce the bone.
  • Knee Abrasion Arthroplasty: In knee abrasion arthroplasty, the surgeon uses specific tools to roughen and scrape the bone’s surface.
  • Knee Drilling: A drill is used in this process to make small holes in the bone.

During cartilage replacement, the surgeon removes a small piece of healthy cartilage and a little bit of the underlying bone from the knee joint and replaces the damaged cartilage with this healthy piece of cartilage. The healthy cartilage can be taken from the same patient (Osteochondral autograft transplantation) or it can be from an outside donor (Osteochondral allograft transplantation). Furthermore, the surgeon may use stem cells or PRP to encourage new cartilage cell growth in the affected knees.

Ligament Reconstruction

When a ligament in the knee is damaged or torn, it may call for a ligament reconstruction surgery. During this surgery, the damaged ligament is replaced by a healthy tendon or ligament. A healthy tendon may be taken from the hamstring, kneecap, or any other part of the body and put in place of the torn ligament to hold the knee joint together. This tendon or ligament graft can be taken from the same person (autograph repair and reconstruction) or from an organ donor (allograft repair and reconstruction). Any of the four ligaments in the knee (ACL, PCL, MCL, and LCL) can be repaired and reconstructed in this manner.

Alternative Treatment for Knee Pain

In addition to conservative and surgical treatment options for knee pain, adopting various alternative therapies can also help in managing knee pain. These alternative therapies include the following:

Acupuncture

This ancient Chinese tradition involves inserting thin needles into the affected parts of the knee in the hope that blood flow will increase in the region and it will stimulate the body’s natural pain-relieving elements. Acupuncture can help reduce the knee pain to some extent.

Yoga

Yoga has been shown to be effective in managing knee pain. The various strengthening and stretching poses and exercises of yoga can help improve flexibility, balance, and strength in the knee joint. This, in turn, can help alleviate knee pain.

Supplements

Certain supplements have also been shown to be effective for knee pain because of their anti-inflammatory properties. Glucosamine and chondroitin, omega-3 fatty acids, turmeric, and vitamin D are said to help with knee pain. However, these supplements should be taken only after the recommendation of your orthopaedic doctor.

Massage

Massage therapy with herbal essential oils can also help with knee pain as it helps soothe the muscles and facilitate blood circulation which can aid the healing process.

Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy involves the use of water and its buoyancy properties to reduce stress on the knee joint and then carry out exercises. The patient sits in a pool of warm water that helps him relax his knee joint and then carries out exercises that strengthen the muscles around the knee and help improve flexibility.

Prolotherapy

In this therapy, a dextrose solution or some other irritant is injected into the ligaments or tendons around the knee joint in an effort to stimulate the body’s natural healing response.

Whatever alternate therapies you wish to try for your knee pain, it is prudent that you discuss them with your healthcare provider and only go forward with them after the doctor’s approval. Some supplements or alternative therapies may interact with the other treatment regimen that your doctor has put you on. The effectiveness of alternative therapies varies from one person to another and depends on various other factors which must be taken into consideration. That is why it is very important to engage a qualified knee pain doctor in Singapore so that you can be guided throughout your treatment process.

Causes of Knee Pain

Knee pain can be caused by various factors, including mechanical wear and tear, injuries or trauma, and stress produced on the knee structures because of the ageing process. The causes of knee pain can be classified as under:

Arthritis

Arthritis is a degenerative process that can affect the knees and cause inflammation, pain, and stiffness. There could be different types of arthritis:

  • Osteoarthritis: This is the most common type of arthritis where the cartilage lining the joints in the knee gets worn out. The bones of the knee then rub together without any cushioning resulting in pain and inflammation. Osteoarthritis is most common in middle-aged and older people. Risk factors for osteoarthritis include being overweight and repeated stress and injuries to the knee.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that usually affects young people. The immune system starts attacking the knee cartilage and adjacent tissues causing swelling and pain in the knees.
  • Post-Traumatic Arthritis: Post-traumatic arthritis occurs in the affected joints of the knees after an injury resulting in knee pain.

Overuse

The knee joint experiences a lot of stress while doing daily activities, exercise, and repetitive motions. Running, cycling, jumping, and doing repetitive knee bending movements can all put a strain on the knees and cause various knee problems including:

  • Runner’s knee or Patellofemoral pain
  • Jumper’s knee or Osgood-Schlatter disease
  • Tendonitis
  • Bursitis

Injuries

Any injury or trauma to the knee joint can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness. These injuries can include:

  • Knee sprains and strains
  • Sprained or strained knee ligaments
  • Torn cartilage
  • Ligament tears including ACL and PCL tears
  • Meniscus tears
  • Dislocation of the knee joint
  • Fractures
  • Hyperextended knees

When Should I See a Doctor for Knee Pain?

We have outlined some cases to consider to understand when it is imperative to consult a doctor for your pain.

  • Your discomfort persists beyond a few days.
  • The pain is overwhelming and doesn’t go away with rest.
  • There is significant swelling in your knee.
  • Your ability to walk is limited.
  • Your knee locks or buckles.
  • The pain is from a major trauma or sudden accident.

When Is Knee Pain an Emergency?

Certain injuries like bone spurs can’t wait for a scheduled appointment. It’s crucial to look for a chiropractor or orthopaedic treatment if you’re dealing with any of the following issues:

  • Deformity
  • Popping sound during your injury
  • Can’t put any weight
  • Locked knee (can’t be bent or straightened)
  • Sharp and severe pain
  • Sudden swelling

What is A Locked Knee?

The most common cause of a locked knee is a tear in the meniscus or cartilage. When the meniscus or cartilage is damaged, it may get stuck in your knee joint, making it difficult to move your knee. Symptoms of a locked knee include:

Pain in your knee

Swelling in knee joint

Stiffness

A popping sound during movement

Building muscle strength in your legs and knees can prevent a locked knee.

Exercises for Knee Pain

Some effective exercises will reduce pain and make your daily life easier. While exercise is crucial to everyone’s health, it is especially important for those of us looking to manage pain due to knee arthritis.

Think that exercise will just make you more uncomfortable? Think again! Research has shown that regular strength training sessions paired with aerobic workouts are every bit as effective as the painkillers that you can buy in your local pharmacy. On top of reducing pain, I am sure that you already know getting regular exercise will make you feel better from head to toe.

There is a broad spectrum of workouts specifically geared toward people with this condition. You don’t have to run for an hour every day or get a gym membership! Check out these simple workouts to see just how easy but effective a strategic workout can be.

You might also be interested in exercises to relieve back pain.

To understand which is an effective treatment option, it is recommended that you consult with us prior to any workouts. There is an individualistic approach to physical therapy for all patients. Depending on your medical history and lifestyle, a medical professional can assist you in choosing the exercises that aid the healing process. Once you get started, you’ll be shocked at how much you can increase your flexibility, lessen pain, and strengthen the muscles.

Frequently-Asked Questions About Knee Pain in Singapore

From ice and heat therapy to elevating the knee, orthotics, and weight management are all efficient ways to cater to at-home knee injury treatment. If you are suffering from mild pain then strengthening and low-impact exercises such as yoga and pilates, can be effective. These improve blood circulation, reduce pain and offer stability to the knee joint in the optimum way. On top of following your doctor’s recommendations, it is important to avoid activities that trigger pain until the knee has had the chance to recover.

About the Author

Dr. James - Orthopaedic Surgeon in Singapore

Dr James Tan Chung Hui

Dr James Tan is a skilled orthopaedic surgeon in Singapore who has more than 10 years of experience in sports injury surgery and exercise medicine. Apart from partnering with the industry to introduce several treatment techniques, Dr Tan has treated athletes from the Singapore National Teams and professional footballers from the Singapore Premier League and the Young Lions. He is a member of the elite Asian Shoulder and Elbow Group and a founding member of the Singapore Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Society.