Knee problems can easily sideline you by decreasing your mobility and causing pain. It is important to find the source of these issues early in order to prevent more damage from occurring. One knee condition that can cause intermittent pain, and lead to bigger issues, is the accumulation of small fragments of cartilage or bone moving around the knee joint fluid. These pieces of debris are called loose bodies.
What Causes Loose Bodies?
Fragments of cartilage or bone can be created from a few different conditions. If there is an injury to the knee that involves the cartilage, a small piece could break off, forming a loose body. This can happen through a traumatic event or when playing sports.
Arthritis is another cause of loose bodies. When osteoarthritis or Charcot’s disease occurs after an accident or injury, the damage can produce debris. Inflammatory conditions can also produce fibrinous loose bodies.
A less common source is synovial chondromatosis. Also known as synovial osteochondromas, this condition is rare. Nodules of cartilage are produced when the synovium grows abnormally. The synovium is a soft tissue membrane that lines the inner surface of the joint, except in the spaces where there is cartilage.
Early Diagnosis and Treatment
Loose bodies in the knee will not necessarily cause pain all the time, and this may lead you to put off seeing a doctor. You may feel like something is moving in your knee. Sometimes your knee may lock up with the feeling the joint is blocked. When the loose body moves to another position in the synovial fluid, you may feel nothing.
While you may not feel constant discomfort, these pieces of debris, measuring anywhere from a few millimeters to a few centimeters, can cause damage to your articular cartilage. This damage can lead to osteoarthritis, making the problem worse. Early diagnosis and treatment can stop the progression.
Using X-rays, your doctor can determine the location of the loose body. Sometimes an MRI, or in rare instances, a CT scan is used to determine the details about the loose body. Once the debris is identified, you doctor will choose the appropriate method of treatment.
Treatment may involve physical therapy and pain medication, or it may involve surgery. Dr. Glashow and his team specialize in sports injuries and cutting-edge joint treatments. Let them provide you with the relief you need for your knee joint pain. Call today for information about scheduling your consultation appointment.