Knee pain and injury is one of the most common reasons people see their doctors. Your knee is a complex joint with many components, making it vulnerable to a variety of injuries. Sometimes, people with knee issues are struggling with a condition known as pseudogout of the knees. Pseudogout is a form or arthritis that causes unexpected and painful inflammation in at least one of the joints. Although it can affect ankles and wrists, this problem mainly attacks the knees. If you think you may have pseudogout of the knees, here some of the questions you may be asking, along with some information on how we treat this condition.
What is Pseudogout and What Causes It?
Pseudogout gets its name from the fact that it’s somewhat like gout, but is not gout. Unlike gout, it isn’t caused by eating specific foods or drinking too much alcohol. This disease is also known as CPPD (calcium pyrophosphate deposition) occurs from the formation of calcium pyrophosphate crystals in the synovial fluid of a person’s joints. Synovial fluid is responsible for lubricating your joints.
When calcium crystals are dumped into the cartilage, damage can occur, resulting in acute pain and swollen joints. It’s unsure why these crystals develop, but it’s believed there’s a genetic link as the disease usually runs in families.
Pseudogout can also be caused by other factors, such as excess iron, an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), magnesium deficiency, excess calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia) and an overactive parathyroid gland.
What Are the Common Symptoms?
The symptoms for this disease can be very similar to those of rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. Some of the most common signs include:
- A swollen knee joint that feels warm when touched and extremely tender
- Episodes of intense and sudden joint pain
- Chronic arthritic pain
- Fluid accumulating around the joint.
- Reddish or purplish skin surrounding the inflamed joint
- These symptoms can last anywhere from only a few days to as long as weeks.
How is Pseudogout Diagnosed and Treated?
Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid pseudogout, but there are ways to treat it for reducing inflammation and pain. Treatments vary depending on a number of factors, but may include:
- First, a doctor diagnoses the condition by draining synovial fluid from the inflamed joint. To drain the fluid, a needle is placed into the affected joint. This is a procedure that’s called an arthrocentesis.
- Draining the fluid also helps in relieving joint pressure and inflammation.
- By examining the fluid under a microscope, your doctor can see if there are Calcium pyrophosphate crystals.
- For joints that are severely inflamed, steroid shots may be recommended. When there are several swollen joints oral steroids are sometimes used.
- NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications) can also be effective in easing pain for acute attacks. Most people find relief from symptoms after 24 hours after they’ve taken these drugs.
- Colchicine, which is a medication that’s also used for pain relief for treating severe gout symptoms, can be effective in some patients. This drug is administered in low doses, over a longer time period, to reduce the chance of recurring attacks.
You don’t have to continue to suffer from knee discomfort. Make an appointment with Hampton Roads Orthopedics and Sports Medicine to be properly diagnosed and treated. We offer high-quality, comprehensive orthopedic care for Virginia residents in the Newport News, Williamsburg and Yorktown communities. Please contact us and learn more about what we have to offer, or to schedule your appointment.