The human knee is the largest joint in the body. It gives us stability and support, and enables our legs to bend and straighten. But because it has so many components, it’s vulnerable to injury and other conditions that cause pain.
Fortunately, the specialists at Aspire Orthopedic Institute are experts in diagnosing and treating all the conditions that can affect the knee. These can include injuries from a direct blow or sudden movement that strains the knee, or inflammatory conditions such as arthritis or lupus that cause wear and tear.
Conditions that affect the knee
There is a wide range of conditions that can affect the adult knee and cause pain. They fall into two main categories: injuries and diseases/disorders.
- Knee Injuries
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears (a common sports injury, often caused by changing direction rapidly or incorrectly landing from a jump)
- Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injuries (often the result of a blow to the front of the knee while the knee is bent)
- Collateral ligament injuries (usually caused by a force that pushes the knee sideways; often sports related)
- Meniscal tears (often sports related, but may occur as a result of arthritis or aging)
- Tendon tears (most common in middle-aged people who play running or jumping sports)
- Knee fractures (broken bones)
- Knee dislocation (when the bones of the knee are out of place)
- Chondromalacia patella (damage to the cartilage under the kneecap)
- Knee diseases/disorders
- Arthritis (knees can be affected by osteoarthritis as well as rheumatoid arthritis)
- Lupus (more than half of people who develop lupus mention joint pain as their first symptom)
- Patellar tendinitis, also called jumper’s knee, is an inflammation in the patellar tendon, the band of tissue that connects the kneecap (patella) to the shinbone (tibia).
How are knee injuries and disorders treated?
Treatment depends on the specific foot or ankle injury and its severity.
- Conservative treatments—Many knee injuries benefit from simple measures such as:
- Immobilization (a brace to keep the knee from moving, or a cast or brace to hold fractured bones in place while they heal)
- Physical therapy to restore knee function and strengthen the leg muscles that support it
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) to reduce pain and swelling
- Topical analgesics (pain medication creams that are absorbed into the skin)
- Injections into the knee joint for pain management
- Arthroscopic surgery —Some knee injuries require surgery to fully restore the leg’s function; in some cases, surgery can be performed arthroscopically using small incisions and tiny instruments.
- Traditional open surgery—Some injuries require open surgery with a larger incision that gives your surgeon easier access and better visualization of the injured structures
- Partial knee replacement —An option for some patients who have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis that’s limited to just one or two compartments of the knee, this procedure offers several benefits including a smaller and faster recovery than a full knee replacement
- Total knee replacement —If you have severe arthritis of the knee, a full knee replacement can be the most effective treatment option. At Aspire, we use a minimally invasive knee replacement technique called “quadriceps sparing” that enables your surgeon to implant your knee joint replacement without dislocating the knee or making a large incision in the quadriceps muscle and tendon as is done in traditional surgery. This results in less pain, less swelling and a quicker recovery after surgery.
What type of treatment is right for me?
Each patient is unique. The type of treatment your doctor will recommend depends on the type and severity of your knee condition, along with your age, general health and lifestyle.
Want to learn more about treatments for knee conditions at Aspire Orthopedic Institute?
Simply call us to schedule an appointment at the location that’s most convenient for you:
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