There are many conditions that may cause knee pain such as meniscus tears, tendinitis, or rheumatoid arthritis. Another common, yet lesser known, cause of knee pain is a condition called Crystal Arthropathy which is also known as gout or pseudogout. Crystal Arthropathy is a condition in which calcium deposits accumulate in the joint space. Some symptoms include intense pain, swelling, stiffness, and discoloration or warmth of the skin at or around the joint.
About 50% of encounters of pseudogout affect the knees. Other commonly involved joints include the elbows, ankles, hips, and shoulders. Most people who are affected with pseudogout develop it as they get older. In the elderly, it is the most common cause of acute arthritis involving a single joint. Crystal Arthropathy can also cause joint damage that may mimic the symptoms of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. For this reason, it is very important to consult with a rheumatologist.
Unfortunately, pseudogout cannot be affectively treated with surgery. However, if left untreated, chronic pseudogout can cause joint degeneration that may require surgical repair or replacement. A common treatment for Crystal Arthropathy is aspiration involving the removal of synovial fluid that may have accumulated in the joint space, thus, relieving pressure in the joint. This treatment is often partnered with a steroid injection to relieve the pain for an extended period (usually two to three months).