Common Knee Problems And When You Should Visit A Doctor

April 18th, 2019 Becki Andrus

Your knee is a complicated joint that takes on critical responsibilities in order for you to conduct your normal day-to-day activities. You depend on it for stability as you move two vital areas that you rely upon to maintain your mobility – your lower leg, and your thigh. This requires your knee to carry the weight of your upper body and to undergo the constant shock that exists with basic movements such as walking and running.

Your knee also must perform such a critical function without the protection of a large skeletal area surrounding it. This can leave you vulnerable to mechanical problems or injuries, which will cause you to experience pain. Understanding the potential source of your pain, and when you should seek the assistance of a physician will improve your situation and help you avoid long-term health issues.

Anatomy Of Your Knee

There are a number of injuries and conditions that can emerge with your knee, and some are more serious than others. The composition of your knee includes ligaments, tendons, bones, meniscus, and cartilage.

Tendons connect the muscles that support the knee joint to bones in the upper and lower leg, Cartilage is an elastic tissue that covers your knee joint and protects the bones by absorbing the shock of impact. The meniscus is the portion of cartilage that functions as a cushion between your shinbone and your thighbone.

You also have bones that join to form your knee joint – the shinbone, which is also referred to as your tibia – along with your thighbone (femur), and your kneecap (patella).

Ligaments Of The Knee

The ligaments of your knee consist of connective tissue that attaches your bones and helps keep your joints stable. The major ligaments include the anterior cruciate ligament, which is also referred to as your ACL. This particular ligament attaches the shin bone (tibia) to your thigh bone (femur). Your ACL is also responsible for the forward movement of the tibia.
The other major ligaments of your knee include the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), which performs the opposite task of the ACL by controlling the backward movement of the tibia. Your medial collateral ligament (MCL) provides stability to your inner knee and your lateral collateral ligament (LCL) has the same responsibilities of stability for your outer knee.

Common Problems Of The Knee

Considering the crucial responsibilities that your knee has been tasked with, and the potential for problems that can occur, it is hardly surprising that there are injuries and conditions that can frequently occur. The common problems of the knee include:

Torn ACL – Unfortunately, torn ACLs are the most common injuries that are suffered in the knee. You may already be become familiar with this issue, due to the magnitude and frequency in which this particular injury that can be experienced by athletes, or for anyone who is involved with recreational activities. A tear can occur if your ACL is stretched or torn as the result of sudden twisting motion. It can also result from stopping suddenly, landing a jump awkwardly, or due to a collision. These scenarios can all take place during involvement in sports such as football, basketball, soccer or skiing.

Torn PCL – Tears of the PCL represent less than 20% injuries that take place in the knee. However they can occur, and usually are the result of a major collision or fall. This can happen during sports activities, and you could hear a popping sound when this takes place.

Torn MCL – A significant impact to the knee can also cause a torn or sprained MCL, and this can also occur if you bend your knee too far in an irregular direction. Once again, sports and recreational activities are often involved with these injuries, and you will likely hear a popping sound.  

Torn Meniscus – the edges of your cartilage can tear, in many cases due to bending, twisting or contact that takes place during a sports related activity. However, this can also occur due to the aging process. Pain, swelling and the inability to move your knee properly are indications of a torn meniscus.

Dislocations – even though this is not experienced with the same frequency as other injuries that have been discussed, the knee cap sometimes slides out of its normal position which can cause swelling and pain. This is sometimes referred to as a “patellar dislocation.” This can take place due to a collision or from a sudden change in direction – both of which can occur during a sporting event. 

Patellar Tendonitis – if your tendon that is located where your shinbone is joined with the kneecap becomes inflamed. This is often the result of repetitive jumping, and this condition is sometimes referred to as jumper’s knee. Pain, swelling and tenderness behind the kneecap are signs that you are dealing with this condition. 

Arthritis – as we age, some of the cartilage that protects our knee joint will be lost, and the bones can rub together without the cushion that had operated as a safeguard to keep this from occurring. A repetitive movement that taxes your knees over time can also create this condition. Pain, stiffness and decreased mobility are typical symptoms for this health issue.

Bursitis – If the sacs of fluid that provide a cushion for the outside of your knee joint become inflamed, that can lead to bursitis of the knee. In addition to pain and swelling, anyone with bursitis might feel tenderness and in the area that is impacted.

Gout – this is caused by a buildup of uric acid in your joint. Even though gout occurs more frequency in the foot, it can also take place in your knee. If you find yourself dealing with this form of arthritis, the pain can be intense, and there may be redness located in the area of pain.

At Orthopedic Associates We Can Help

If you experienced any of the symptoms that were described previously – pain, swelling, tenderness, redness, or if you have any questions about your knee, then we encourage you to visit us at Orthopedic Associates.  We have the expertise and commitment to help whenever you have any questions or concerns, as our collection of board-certified doctors can provide vast knowledge that can only result from their combined 183 years of experience.

This includes our veteran team of knee specialists, whose expertise and dedication is beneficial toward his ability to design an effective plan of treatment for a wide range of foot conditions including:

  • Anatomy of the Knee
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear (ACL Tear)
  • Avascular Necrosis (Osteonecrosis) of the Knee
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
  • Fractures of the Tibial Spine
  • Goosefoot (Pes Anserine) Bursitis of the Knee
  • Hamstring Muscle Injuries
  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)
  • Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) Injury
  • Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Injury
  • Meniscus Tear
  • Osgood-Schlatter Disease
  • Osteoarthritis of the Knee
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans of the Knee
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Patella Fracture (Broken Knee Cap)
  • Patella Tendon Rupture
  • Patellar Tendonitis (Jumper’s Knee)
  • Patellar Tracking Disorder
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner’s Knee)
  • Prepatellar Bursitis (Kneecap Bursitis)
  • Quadriceps Tendon Tear
  • Septic Arthritis of the Knee
  • Shin Splints (Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome)
  • Supracondylar Femoral Fracture
  • Tibial Fractures
  • Tibial Plateau Fracture
  • Torn Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL)

Visit one of Orthopedic Associates two locations or request an appointment today to be on your way to feeling better.

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