When Loose Bodies are a Pain

When you bang you knee on the corner of your desk or take a fall during a game and land on your knee, the pain can be intense. Injury to the knee may heal on its own over time; however, an injury could also leave behind debris in the form of small pieces of cartilage or fragments of bone floating in the synovial fluid.

You may not feel these fragments, or loose bodies, all the time, but you may experience them as intermittent joint locking, limited motion, swelling and knee pain. These small particles can range in size from a few millimeters to a few centimeters. Often, they are found by accident on X-rays.

A Pain in the Knee

When a fragment gets trapped in the synovium membrane, it can cause swelling. This membrane lines the knee joint except in the areas where there is cartilage. These fragments can also cause osteoarthritis in the knee joint as they move around and damage the articular cartilage. Early diagnosis and treatment of loose bodies will help prevent further damage to the knee joint.

Treatment for Loose Bodies

Loose bodies moving in the synovial fluid in the knee joint is primarily a mechanical issue where treatment is concerned. Pain relief may be had through the use of anti-inflammatory medicines and physical therapy. This will also help keep the joint flexible.

Removal of the pieces of debris will relieve the symptoms. Arthroscopy is used to do this. It is a minimally invasive procedure allowing for thorough examination of the knee joint. The doctor is able to determine how much damage has been done to the cartilage and clean out the loose bodies.

Another procedure, open arthrotomy, is used to remove large fragments. It is also used when there are many fragments present or when there is complete synovial involvement.

If you are experiencing knee pain, call Dr. Struhl to schedule a consultation appointment. Neglecting to address your pain could be making the problem worse.