When evaluating a patient who complains of knee pain, we have to consider all possible causes of knee pain. Although the vast majority of the people we see who have knee pain typically have injuries to muscle, ligament, tendon, cartilage or bone—some people have more unusual causes of knee pain. If a patient is evaluated by a medical doctor before meeting with us, most of the less typical causes of knee pain have been ruled out (or else the patient would probably be sent to a different specialist). A few of the many possible examples of these are:
- Nerve entrapment
- Benign tumor
- Malignant tumor
- DVT (deep vein thrombosis)
- Ruptured or enlarging Baker’s cyst
- Spinal nerve compression
When a patient is sent to us with a diagnosis of knee injury such as a sprain or tear, we still have to evaluate for other possible causes of knee pain, because sometimes an injury isn’t what it appears to be. The human body is complex. Each person is put together a little bit differently than the next person. While multiple evaluations may seem tedious or redundant to a patient, it is the best way to ensure the accuracy of a diagnosis. For example, in the past year, several patients that were sent to us with a diagnosis of knee sprain/strain turned out to have a cyst, spinal nerve compression, fracture or meniscal tear. If we had treated the patient based on the diagnosis (and without performing our own evaluation, as some clinics do), the treatment may have been ineffective or even harmful.
An injury is easier to treat when an accurate assessment of the tissues involved is made. Fast recovery depends on detailed knowledge of the damaged tissue—-how much tissue is damaged, what amount of stress/load can that tissue tolerate, precise location of the damaged tissue, etc.
If an accurate assessment of your injury is important to you, then make sure you are evaluated by an expert. C.O.A.S.T. Rehab has the only Board Certified Sports Physical Therapist in the tri-county area. In addition, we only employ physical therapists — that means no aides, no assistants—because we are committed to providing expert service.