Can you have arthritis in the knee without swelling?
February 10, 2014 2:06 AM   Subscribe

Both my knees hurt alot and have for years I cant walk for more then a football field without them hurting to much that I have to stop I also cant stand for more then like 10 minutes or they hurt to much. I am 23 years old.I have been to the doctor and he dosent know whats wrong. My question is can I have arthritis without having smelling in my knees? Becasue I dont have swelling just pain.
posted by john123357 to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have been to the doctor and he dosent know whats wrong

Go to a different doctor, preferably an ortho/knee specialist. If he can't figure it out he'll probably have you take an MRI to get a better look at things.
posted by xqwzts at 3:42 AM on February 10, 2014 [5 favorites]

Consider orthotics. My knee pain went away in 2wks after I got insoles for my cleats. I got mine through a chiropractor.

Also it depends on the kind of knee pain - burning, radiating, sharp twinge...
posted by St. Peepsburg at 5:07 AM on February 10, 2014

Yes, you can have knee osteoarthritis without swelling. Basically the bones that connect in your knees are cushioned in articular cartilage. In osteoarthritis, this cartilage degenerates and eventually disappears, creating painful bone on bone contact. It would, however, be unusual for somebody of your age to have osteoarthritis, unless you are very overweight or have had previous knee injury.

Seconded that you go see an orthopedic surgeon. Where is the pain relative to your knee?
posted by Comrade_robot at 5:13 AM on February 10, 2014

My knee pain disappeared after a podiatrist guided my sneaker selection and added orthotics.
It's worth a shot.
posted by SLC Mom at 6:17 AM on February 10, 2014

What kind of doctor have you been to? If you went to a general practitioner, I suggest that you get checked out by a rheumatologist.
posted by emilynoa at 6:39 AM on February 10, 2014

A young person I know gets this. According to his PT, because he exercises infrequently, the muscles in his legs are unbalanced. This leads to the kneecap not remaining in it's channel and then knee pain when he walks. As long as he keeps up on his exercises he doesn't have any trouble with it.

So... It might be arthritis. It might be something else, too. I'd go to a sports medicine clinic and see what they have to say.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:36 AM on February 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have/had chondromalacia, which was an early problem in the articular cartilage of the patella that lead to patellofemoral arthritis. I had no swelling from this.
posted by Pax at 9:51 AM on February 10, 2014

I'm sorry to say, but doctors are slightly clueless for knee pain. I live in NYC and tried many knee specialists, sports specialists etc, to very little or only partial avail. I would STILL suggest going to see a knee specialist, but keep trying to figure things out on your own too. Here are some things which have worked for me and others around me who had knee injuries, all of which were suggested by knee specialists.

- if you have a gait problem, orthotics (as has already been suggested). Custom ones in my experience are a bit of a ripoff, the 'Superfeet' (chose the appropriate color, mine are green) are pretty good to see if that works for you.

- if the pain is outside your knee, it coud be IT band syndrome. Try stretching your IT band and foam rolling it for a few weeks and see if that works.

- if the pain is patellar, it could be several things:
* your hamstrings are too tight and pull your patella back - try stretching your hamstrings every day for a while and see if that works
* your quads are not strong enough and your patella is unstable - try to do 8 sets of 15 jump squats every other day (you won't be able to do it at first!) and see if that relieves the pain.

In all cases - see a specialist!
posted by Riton at 12:59 PM on February 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'd start with orthotics and see if that makes a difference, but if not, I'd question the possibility of a misaligned lower back or hip problem, especially since both knees are affected and they don't swell. If you have a thorough examination by an orthopedist or rheumatologist of your knees and they find nothing and they don't check out your back and hips, you might consider an osteopath (instead of M.D., it's D.O.) or even a chiropractor.

Um ... please don't do all the calisthenics recommended above or work your knees to death until you've had a thorough examination.

Good luck.
posted by aryma at 5:35 PM on February 10, 2014

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