The knee joint’s intricate structure is composed of bones, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and soft tissues. A loose body in the knee occurs when a small piece of bone or cartilage dislodges from its original location and floats freely within the joint space. An injury, age-related wear and tear, or degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis are known to cause this condition. A loose body in the knee may result in pain, swelling, stiffness, and difficulty moving the affected knee.
Identifying the symptoms of this disorder early on and consulting an orthopedist can help with an accurate diagnosis and treatment. If left untreated, this condition can lead to further tissue damage, resulting in chronic pain, decreased mobility, and potential complications like cartilage damage, arthritis, or joint deformity. Individuals with a loose body in the knee can get the help they deserve from our skilled team at NJ Spine & Orthopedic.
Find your condition with our 2-minute Condition Checker.
A loose body in the knee may cause various symptoms, including pain, swelling, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. Someone with this condition may also encounter the following symptoms:
Consulting a skilled surgeon that can perform a physical examination and run diagnostic tests is crucial to identifying a loose body in the knee and developing a treatment plan to manage related symptoms.
An orthopedic knee surgeon can diagnose a loose body in the knee through a comprehensive physical examination and diagnostic testing. During the physical examination, the doctor evaluates the knee for tenderness, swelling, and joint movement abnormalities. They can also perform specific diagnostic tests to assess the knee joint stability and look for signs of joint damage. Imaging studies such as X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans help visualize the knee joint and identify any loose bodies or other structural abnormalities. If the surgeon sees a loose body, they can recommend an ideal treatment approach to manage symptoms.
Discover which treatment options are right for you with our Treatment Finder.
The treatment choice for a loose body in the knee depends on the severity of symptoms and the size and location of the loose body. They can include conservative treatments like rest and physical therapy, medications such as NSAIDs, and rehabilitation, as well as physical therapy post-surgery to restore function to the knee joint.
Conservative treatments for a loose body in the knee include rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) to minimize pain and inflammation. Anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen can be prescribed to mitigate knee joint pain and swelling.
If conservative treatments do not improve symptoms, arthroscopic surgery is the most common procedure used to remove a loose body from the knee joint. During this surgery, an arthroscope is inserted into the joint, allowing the surgeon to see and remove the loose body through small incisions. However, in severe cases where the loose body is too large, open surgery, which is typically the last resort, may be necessary.
Following surgery, rehabilitation, and physical therapy are recommended to restore knee joint strength and flexibility. Patients work with a physical therapist to create an exercise regimen tailored to their needs. The recovery process after loose body removal surgery can take several weeks to months, subject to the size, loose body location, and surgical approach used. Some pain, swelling, and stiffness in the operated joint are to be expected after surgery—this can be remedied with pain medication and anti-inflammatory drugs. Patients are usually advised to use assistive devices when moving around and limit strenuous activities to avoid bearing weight on the affected joint for a few days.
Removing loose bodies in the knee is critical for restoring joint mobility and relieving pain caused by dislodged cartilage or bone fragments. Seek medical attention at the onset of knee pain symptoms to help prevent further joint damage. Prompt treatment also improves surgical success and reduces postoperative issues.
At NJ Spine & Orthopedic, our team of skilled orthopedic knee surgeons specializes in diagnosing and treating various knee conditions, including loose body removal. We use cutting-edge surgical techniques to provide personalized care and promising outcomes for all patients during their recovery. Individuals suffering from knee pain or discomfort should contact us at (866) 553-0612 or fill out our detailed online contact form to schedule an appointment.
Determine your eligibility with our Candidacy Verification.