Diagnosing Knee Pain and Proper Treatment

Calendar August 9, 2018

Question: I am a 17-year-old female who has pain in my left knee. I have felt cracking, grinding, and clicking, seen a lot of swelling, and felt a lot of pain all over my knee, especially the front and by the patella tendon. Both my X-rays and MRI came back negative. I was diagnosed with runner’s knee. Do you think that it’s runner’s knee, jumper’s knee, both, or something different? Also, what should I do about it? I’ve already done stretches/exercise at home, PT, RICE, and tried a knee sleeve and none have worked. I have been told that cortisone shots don’t work and just make things worse. Do the shots work and do I have any other options besides surgery? I’m almost always in pain, the level depending on the day, and I can’t take it much longer. Thanks!

Dr. Foreman: Both runner’s knee and jumper’s knee are actually tendinitis problems which rarely require surgery. With most of your pain in the front of the knee, I doubt it is runner’s knee, which is on the outside portion of the knee. Try putting heat on the knee 2-3 times a day, taking Advil or Aleve on a regular basis, and using a patellar tendon strap on the knee – you can find them at sporting goods stores or pharmacies. If that doesn’t help, then make an appointment with an orthopedist for an evaluation of the knee and a review of your imaging studies.

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