What Complications Are Associated With Sciatica
Most people recover fully from sciatica. However, chronic pain can be a complication of sciatica. If the pinched nerve is seriously injured, chronic muscle weakness, such as a drop foot, might occur, when numbness in the foot makes normal walking impossible. Sciatica can potentially cause permanent nerve damage, resulting in a loss of feeling in the affected legs. Call your provider right away if you lose feeling in your legs or feet, or have any concerns during your recovery time.
Massage Or Physical Therapy
Having a massage may also help reduce physical pain and stress. Applying gentle pressure around the affected area may help relieve tension, and a full body massage can help the muscles relax.
Deep tissue massages may not be a good idea because the extra pressure may make the symptoms worse.
Physical therapy, using a combination of exercise, massage, and gentle stretches, can help relieve symptoms.
Knee Pain And Problems
Knee pain is a common complaint among adults and most often associated with general wear and tear from daily activities like walking, bending, standing and lifting. Athletes who run or play sports that involve jumping or quick pivoting are also more likely to experience knee pain and problems. But whether an individuals knee pain is caused by aging or injury, it can be a nuisance and even debilitating in some circumstances.
What Causes Knee Pain
Your knee joint is made of bone, cartilage, ligaments, and fluid. Muscles and tendons help the knee joint move. When any of these structures is damaged, you have knee problems. These are some of the more common causes of knee pain:
- Osteoarthritis. The cartilage in the knee gradually wears away.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. The knee may become swollen and cartilage may be destroyed.
- Ligament injuries. Anterior cruciate ligament injuries usually result from a sudden twisting motion. Injuries to the posterior cruciate ligament are usually caused by a direct impact, like impact from a car accident or sports activities.
- Tendon injuries. These can range from inflammation to a tear, most likely from overuse in sports or from a fall.
- Cartilage injuries and disorders. Injury, overuse, muscle weakness, or misalignment of the knee can soften the cartilage of the kneecap, or a blow to the knee may tear off a piece of cartilage.
- Broken kneecap. The small, round bone that sits over the front of your knee joint breaks, usually as the result of a fall or a direct blow to the knee.
The Knee Cap Was Floating Because The Mcl Was Released Patellar Maltracking After Total Knee Replacement The Concern Of Catastrophic Laxity
Lets look at two studies surrounding the medial collateral ligament.
The first is from 2015, the second is from 2021
In June 2015 in the journal Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy researchers wrote: Medial collateral ligament release is one of the essential steps toward the achievement of ligament balancing during the total knee arthroplasty in patients with varus deformity . When the varus deformity is severe, complete release of the MCL until balanced is often required. However, it is believed that a complete MCL release may lead to catastrophic laxity.
In March 2021, a study published in the journal Knee Surgery and Related Research continued that Medial collateral ligament release during knee replacement could lead to the surviving knee cap floating around the knee. Here are the studys observations: Patellar maltracking after total knee arthroplasty can lead to significant patellofemoral complications such as anterior knee pain, increased component wear, and a higher risk of component loosening, patellar fracture, and instability. . . Complete release of the MCL during surgery was associated with patellar maltracking. Surgeons should attend to patellar tracking during surgery in medially tight knees.
Improve Movements To Eliminate Hip Pain
The back, hip, and lower extremity work as a comprehensive unit allowing for many of the repetitive tasks you complete at home, work, and during recreational activities. Injuries to one area of the musculature often indicates that additional damage has been incurred by adjacent muscles.
Many therapeutic exercises can help restore proper strength and endurance to the leg muscles. Isometric exercises are often the initial treatment exercises, followed by single plane rubber band exercises for the hip, knee, and ankle: flexion, extension, adduction, abduction, circumduction, inversion, and eversion. Dynamic exercises involving stability foam, rubber discs, exercise ball, and BOSU balls can be performed on the floor. The more unstable the surface, the more effort and stabilization is required of all the lower extremity muscles.
Vibration plates enhance neuromuscular learning throughout the ankle, knee, foot, hip, and back muscles. Additional strength exercises can be found on the hip, knee, and foot strengthening pages. More information for injuries and treatments for knee pain and foot pain.
What Symptoms Can I Expect
Symptoms associated with a knee injury or disorder can vary greatly and may not be constant for every patient. Some people describe their pain as a dull ache or throbbing felt throughout the knee. Other people experience sharp, stabbing discomfort in a specific location.
Symptoms can include:
- Stiffness or swelling in the joint
- Changes in skin color around the knee joint, i.e. increased redness or paleness
- A sensation of coldness, numbness, or tingling in or around the joint
- Increased instability or feeling of weakness in the knee
- Reduced movement or flexibility in the joint
When Should I Contact My Healthcare Provider
Get immediate medical attention if you experience:
- Severe leg pain lasting more than a few hours that is unbearable.
- Numbness or muscle weakness in the same leg.
- Bowel or bladder control loss. This could be due to a condition called cauda equina syndrome, which affects bundles of nerves at the end of the spinal cord.
- Sudden and severe pain from a traffic accident or some other trauma.
Even if your visit doesnt turn out to be an emergency situation, its best to get it checked out.
Why Should I See A Pain Management Specialist
Pain management is an important part of any treatment plan, both for lessening discomfort and aiding in recovery. Pain management specialists understand the full range of pain relief options and how to use these options in combination. Treatments done as part of a comprehensive, multimodal plan may help even if each treatment does not seem to make a difference when used in isolation.
Pain management specialists work with patients to help diagnose pain and treat it safely and effectively with as few side effects as possible. These treatments do not have to involve medication. In fact, pain management is generally more successful when a comprehensive approach is used, with or without medications.
How Can I Know If I Have Sciatica
Sciatica is linked to certain conditions including pregnancy, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, and herniated or bulging discs. Doctors who suspect their patients have sciatica may ask their patients to perform some exercises or undergo x-rays and similar tests.
Physicians will also ask questions several questions including:
- Where do you feel discomfort?
- What is the pain like?
- How often are you uncomfortable?
- How long does the pain last?
- What triggers the discomfort and what helps it go away?
- Do you sit for a long period of time?
- Do you do any lifting or strenuous physical activities for your job?
- Do you have an active lifestyle?
In This Video Our Patient Jeannette Had Issues With Spinal Stenosis And Problems Post Knee Replacement
- Jeannette starts discussing the knee replacement complications at 2:30 into the video. Jeannette is 81 years old.
Jeannette describes a foot tingling problem. She cannot sit down and relax at the end of the day, it is uncomfortable for her to put her feet up or down because it is tingling. She had a nerve conduction study that shows an injury to her peroneal nerve.
The peroneal nerve branches out from the sciatic nerve. As it provides sensation to the front and sides of the legs and to the top of the feet, damage to this nerve would result in burning and tingling or numbness sensation in these areas. Further damage to this nerve would also cause loss of control in the muscles in the leg that help you point your toes upward. This can lead to walking problems and possibly foot drop, the inability to lift the front of the foot or ankle. Knee and hip replacement are leading culprits in the cause of peroneal nerve injury.
In Jeannettes case, she had two knee replacement surgeries in that knee. After the first knee replacement surgery, the implant started to protrude away from the limb. The knee replacement became loose. The second surgery to fix the first one occurred in 2015.
- It was determined after examination that Jeannettes knee ligaments were loose. Her knee was hypermobile and unstable. This was causing pressure on her peroneal nerve. Knee ligament damage and weakness is also a complication of knee replacement surgery and is discussed further below.
With Nowhere Else To Go Doctors Suggest Another Knee Replacement
- Study: Early diagnosis is very important for the treatment of intractable pain following total knee replacement. A reoperation conducted without identification of a specific reason carries a high risk of failure.
- With nowhere else to go, doctors suggest another knee replacement.
- Second knee replacement operation with a high rate of failure.
Research: Surgeons Warn Surgeons That Knee Pain After Knee Replacement Does Not Automatically Mean Revision Knee Surgery
One of the reasons that people are in our office with continued pain after knee replacement is that they are being told that eventually, or sooner, rather than later if the pain persists, they will have to have revision surgery to clean out tissue that may be causing pain, and to examine the components of the artificial knee.
A recent study from orthopedic surgeons in Italy was published in the Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine. Simply stated the surgeons warned:
Pain can be related to a lot of different clinical findings, and the surgeon has to be aware of the various etiologies that can lead to failure. Pain does not always mean revision, and the patient has to be fully evaluated to have a correct diagnosis; if surgery is performed for the wrong reason, this will surely lead to a failure.
Pain Behind The Knee: Causes And How To Treat Back Of Knee Pain
Pain behind the knee can have a serious impact on your daily activities. Sharp pain at the back of your knee can affect walking and cause discomfort when standing or walking up stairs. Pain and swelling behind the knee can also cause stiffness in your knee joint, inflammation, and possibly, a lump at the back of your knee.
There are many reasons for mild to severe pain behind the knee. For example, a ligament tear, a pulled muscle, fracture to a bone in your knee, or wear and tear can also cause varying degrees of pain behind the knee. The knee pain can cause you to limp, make it difficult to walk, or you may not be able to bend your knee at all.
Knowing how to treat pain behind the knee requires knowing what is causing it. However, usually, hot and cold treatments can help to restore mobility to your knee joint and ease the pain. In some cases, if the leg pain behind the knee is caused by blood clot or cyst, you need to get it checked out by a doctor.
In this article, you will learn about the various reasons why you could have pain at the back of your knee.
New Treatment Halts Chronic Knee Pain
March 17, 2021
BCOS becomes one of the first and few to offer innovative procedure for long term relief of debilitating knee pain.
For patients suffering from chronic knee pain, theres a new option that can provide long-lasting relief. In fact, this innovative, non-surgical treatment is changing the game for patients at Bucks County Orthopedic Specialists .
I want people to know that just because theyve tried other treatments for knee pain doesnt mean theyre out of options. A genicular nerve block and ablation may be the answer, says BCOS director of regenerative medicine, Sean P. Butler D.O., who is a pain management and interventional specialist, and one of the first doctors in the area to utilize this procedure to relieve chronic knee pain.
What is a genicular nerve block and ablation for the knee?
The genicular nerve block and ablation are performed via injection and work by disrupting the pain signal from the nerves around the knee. This non-surgical procedure can provide pain relief that lasts anywhere from six months to a year or longer, and the treatment can be repeated every six months if necessary.
It is safe, quick, effective and has been highly successful for our patients, says Butler. For many people with chronic knee pain, this straightforward procedure has been a revelation. Weve helped patients avoid or stop using opioids for pain management and significantly improved their quality of life.
Genicular Nerve Block and Ablation Patient Story
If You Have Jumpers Knee
Immediately take rest from the activity that caused it: basketball, netball or any other sport you might be playing. The knee is a complex machine and needs rest if it incurs complications.
It is the first step of the R.I.C.E process which is common for treating a Jumpers knee.
Apply an icepack on the knee area which will compress it and then elevate the knee using a splint, stool or with the help of a wall.
This elevation increases the blood flow to the knee to help in the healing. When you are involved in some light activity, make sure to wear a supporting knee brace to reduce the amount of weight applied on the knees.
As for the rehabilitation process, several exercises are recommended by the doctors.
Sandra Curwin and William Stanish especially recommended drop squats and came up with a 6-week program that helped the patients in increasing the tendon strength years ago.
There are other exercises as well, like the:
- Short-leg raises:
Lie on the floor with your good leg bent as shown above.
Tighten the muscles of the affected knee by straightening it and raise it 30 cm above the ground.
Hold there for 6-10 seconds before lowering the leg and repeat for 10-15 times.
- Step-up & step-down
Have a raised platform in front of you. Get on top of it and then descend. Repeat if for 10-15 times.
- Side-lying leg lift:
Lay on your good leg and raise the other leg at least 3-4 feet from it.
- Prone hip extension
Knee Pain May Be A Symptom Of Sciatica
Common knee symptoms that you may experience when you have sciatica include:
- A warm sensation, sharp pain, or dull ache in the front, side, and/or back of the knee
- Inability to bear weight on the knee
- Buckling/giving out of the knee
- Weakness while extending the knee
Read more about Sciatica Symptoms
Sciatica is commonly caused by a medical condition that affects your lower back. These underlying conditions may affect your spinal discs, nerve roots, joints, or soft tissues, such as muscles.
When Is Surgery Considered
Spinal surgery is usually not recommended unless you have not improved with other treatment methods such as stretching and medication, your pain is worsening, you have severe weakness in the muscles in your lower extremities or you have lost bladder or bowel control.
How soon surgery would be considered depends on the cause of your sciatica. Surgery is typically considered within a year of ongoing symptoms. Pain that is severe and unrelenting and is preventing you from standing or working and youve been admitted to a hospital would require more aggressive treatment and a shorter timeline to surgery. Loss of bladder or bowel control could require emergency surgery if determined to be cauda equine syndrome.
The goal of spinal surgery for sciatic pain is to remove the pressure on the nerves that are being pinched and to make sure the spine is stable.
Surgical options to relieve sciatica include:
Microdiscectomy: This is a minimally invasive procedure used to remove fragments of a herniated disk that are pressing on a nerve.
- Laminectomy: In this procedure, the lamina that is causing pressure on the sciatic nerve is removed.
What Are The Symptoms Of Chondromalacia Patella
Chondromalacia patella is more commonly known as runners knee. It can be caused by overuse or because of tight or weak muscles combined with repetitive use. This causes damage to the cartilage underneath your patella .
While there is currently no cure, you can treat chondromalacia by resting, icing, and taking anti-inflammatory medication. Physical therapy can also help strengthen the muscles around your knee and reduce some of the stress on your knee joint.
Surgeons Say One In Four Patients With Pain After Knee Replacement Had No Clear Reasoning For Their Pain It Wasnt The Hardware It Wasnt Anything Obvious That They Could See
In the research above, surgeons have a road map of where to look for pain after knee replacement. Returning to the findings released in the British Pain Journal , the doctors suggest looking for pain in other places that are usually not explored:
- Our main findings are that some patients have severe pain that interferes significantly with their lives and that a large number of them have pain sensitization problems , many of which can be classified as neuropathic pain , rather than any local, nociceptive cause .
- A heightened sense of pain following knee replacement will be discussed throughout this article.
What is the research saying?
In November 2018 a study was published in the Journal of Knee Surgery. The doctors also were looking at nerve pain after surgery.
- The study had 154 patients with 222 knee replacements
- The goal of the study was to define the prevalence of pain persisting after total knee replacement and determine the impact of neuropathic pain.
- The ratio of patients with
- moderate-to-severe pain was 28% .
- Thirteen patients experienced unclear pain.
- A significant number of patients experienced moderate-to-severe and unclear pain after total knee replacement.
It looked like neuropathy but it wasnt neuropathy.
Available Or Current Treatment Guidelines
Algorithm suggested for peripheral nerve injuries
For Ligament Cartilage And Joint Tears
Ligament, cartilage and joint tears in your knee will need to be addressed by your doctor.
After imaging diagnostics and a clinical assessment, your doctor will let you know if your treatment will include physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medication, or if youll need to undergo surgery to repair the injury.
Recovery from knee surgery can take some time. It may take anywhere from 6 months to a year to resume your normal activities.
Chronic Pain Behind The Knee
Pain at the back of the knee may occur gradually. You are unlikely to be able to pinpoint the exact time your injury occurred. These injuries often start out as a niggle which you will attempt to ignore. Eventually they become progressively worse.
Chronic knee injuries can be more difficult to treat so do not ignore the early signs!
Previous Ligament Reconstruction Surgery Higher Risk For Complications After Knee Replacement
Doctors at the Mayo Clinic have published findings in Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research which they suggest that patients who had previous multi-ligament reconstruction surgery were at high risk for:
- knee replacement complications,
- constrained knee replacement designs ,
- and a higher risk of major complications, including reoperation and infection.
Are Restless Leg Syndrome Multiple Sclerosis Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Plantar Fasciitis Shingles Or Bursitis Related To Sciatica
While all these conditions affect either the spinal cord, nerves, muscles, ligaments or joints and all can cause pain, none are directly related to sciatica. The main causes of these conditions are different. Sciatica only involves the sciatic nerve. That being said, the most similar condition would be carpal tunnel syndrome, which also involves a compression of a nerve.
A final word about sciatica. . . .
Most cases of sciatica do not require surgery. Time and self-care treatment are usually all thats needed. However, if simple self-care treatments do not relieve your pain, see your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider can confirm the cause of your pain, suggest other treatment options and/or refer you to other spine health specialists if needed.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/25/2020.
Discomfort Aching And Tightness In The Knee Grating And Pain Behind The Kneecap When Bending The Knee Or When It Is Exercised After A Period Of Rest
May be due to chondromalacia patella. In this condition the cartilage on the underside of the patella softens and deteriorates. Some people are able to ignore the condition, but it will not improve and will probably need surgery. Sometimes an unstable flap of surface cartilage may cause this pain, and may be curable with simple keyhole surgery and a chondroplasty.
Harvard Medical Schools Findings Surrounding The Phenomena Of Continued Pain Following Total Knee Replacement
Here are some more quick facts surrounding the phenomena of continued pain following total knee replacement from researchers at Brigham and Womens Hospital, Harvard Medical School.
In this 2017 study published in the medical journal Osteoarthritis Cartilage, the doctors found:
- Approximately 20% of total knee replacement recipients have suboptimal pain relief. .
- Pre-operative widespread pain was associated with greater pain at 12-months and failure to reach a clinically meaningful difference in pain, pre and post replacement
- Patients with widespread pain along with the pain catastrophizing problems may help identify persons with suboptimal total knee replacement outcomes.
A Realistic Assessment Of What We Can Do To Help With Your Pain After Knee Replacement
In our clinic, we try to provide information on helping people explore other treatment options before joint replacement. One of those options is simple dextrose Prolotherapy. This regenerative injection technique helps rebuild damaged ligaments and tendons.
When the patients have already had a joint replacement, we will do a physical examination of the knee to assess how we may be able to help.
- Prolotherapy fixes soft tissue, it cannot fix hardware failure,
- Prolotherapy works by stabilizes the knee by strengthening the natural muscle and bone attachments, ligaments, and tendons.
Treatment And Prevention Tips For Pain Behind The Knee
When you experience knee pain that doesnt go away within a day or two, you should seriously consider health care. Here are a few tips on protecting your knee in situations where you might have a minor knee injury or experience reoccurring knee problems.
- Avoid activities that cause pain
- Apply ice
- Keep knee raised to bring down any swelling
- Sleep with a pillow underneath or between your knees
- Avoid running up and down stairs walk carefully
- Dont forget to warm up before exercising or engaging in sports
- When you run, do it on smooth, soft surfaces instead of rough pavement
- Swim instead of running
- If you are overweight, consider ways to lose a few pounds
- Make sure you wear well-made running shoes
- Consider shoe inserts for better arch support
Other Treatments For Sciatica
If your pain is very bad and treatments from a GP have not helped, they may refer you to a hospital specialist for:
- painkilling injections
- a procedure to seal off some of the nerves in your back so they stop sending pain signals
- surgery an operation called decompression surgery can sometimes help relieve sciatica
What Causes Sciatica Knee Pain
Its clear by the above discussion that sciatica can cause knee pain. However, since there are various reasons for the knee pain itself, ruling out sciatica as a cause of knee pain might slip ones mind.
Note that if there is no pain in the lower back but an independent nerve pain in the knee, then, in this case, sciatica is not the cause of your knee pain, as already stated above.
Lets first highlight the main causes of knee pain in general:
- Overusing the joint muscles
- A pinched nerve in the knee
How can sciatica cause knee pain? Lets now look at the causes of knee pain from sciatica: