Approach to the Active Patient with Chronic Anterior Knee Pain
ABSTRACT The diagnosis and management of chronic anterior knee pain in the active individual can be frustrating for both the patient and physician. Pain may be a result of a single traumatic event or, more commonly, repetitive overuse. "Anterior knee pain," "patellofemoral pain syndrome," and "chondromalacia" are terms that are often used interchangeably to describe multiple conditions that occur in the same anatomic region but that can have significantly different etiologies. Potential pain sources include connective or soft tissue irritation, intra-articular cartilage damage, mechanical irritation, nerve-mediated abnormalities, systemic conditions, or psychosocial issues. Patients with anterior knee pain often report pain during weightbearing activities that involve significant knee flexion, such as squatting, running, jumping, and walking up stairs. A detailed history and thorough physical examination can improve the differential diagnosis. Plain radiographs (anteroposterior, anteroposterior flexion, lateral, and axial views) can be ordered in severe or recalcitrant cases. Treatment is typically nonoperative and includes activity modification, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, supervised physical therapy, orthotics, and footwear adjustment. Patients should be informed that it may take several months for symptoms to resolve. It is important for patients to be aware of and avoid aggravating activities that can cause symptom recurrence. Patients who are unresponsive to conservative treatment, or those who have an underlying systemic condition, should be referred to an orthopedic surgeon or an appropriate medical specialist.
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ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: Meniscus and cartilage lesions have been reported to be prevalent during delayed reconstruction of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries. Relatively, little work has been done exploring the influence of patient age on this relationship. The purpose of this study is to determine whether the effect of time from ACL injury to reconstruction on the prevalence of associated meniscal and chondral injury is influenced by patient age. It was hypothesized that patients in whom the time from ACL injury to reconstruction exceeds 12 weeks will exhibit an increased prevalence of medial compartment pathology relative to those reconstructed within 12 weeks of injury in patients of all ages. METHODS: Data detailing time from ACL injury to reconstruction and the prevalence of intra-articular findings were obtained in 311 of 489 consecutive patients undergoing primary isolated ACL reconstruction. Patients were divided into two groups based on whether the time from ACL injury to reconstruction was <12 weeks or at least 12 weeks. The prevalence of associated intra-articular injury was then compared between the two groups. Patients were then stratified based on age (22 years and under vs. over the age of 22), and the analysis was repeated on both groups. RESULTS: Analysis of all patients together revealed a significantly higher prevalence of medial meniscus injury (p = 0.013) and medial compartment chondral injury (p < 0.0005) in patients in whom the time from ACL injury to reconstruction exceeded 12 weeks. The prevalence of lateral meniscal injury did not increase with increasing time ACL injury to surgery. Among patients aged 22 years and under, there was no increase in the prevalence of intra-articular pathology in any compartment in the late reconstruction group. In contrast, among patients over the age of 22, there was a significant increase in the prevalence of medial chondral injury (p = 0.042) in the late reconstruction group. CONCLUSION: The prevalence of injuries to the meniscus and articular cartilage in the medial compartment of the knee is increased with increasing time from ACL injury to reconstruction. This relationship may vary depending on patient age. Patients over the age of 22 exhibit a higher prevalence of intra-articular injury with delayed reconstruction, while no such differences are noted among younger patients. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Retrospective comparative study, Level III.Knee Surgery Sports Traumatology Arthroscopy 01/2013; DOI:10.1007/s00167-013-2380-8