Knee pain impacts millions of people in the United States and sometimes keeps them from participating in everyday activities. Pain can be the result of overuse, a sudden injury, or an underlying condition. Correctly determining the cause of the pain is crucial to developing the appropriate course of treatment.
Experienced, Personalized Care
Our orthopedic team at Porter Medical Center uses leading diagnostic services, cutting-edge technology and robotic surgery when needed for treatment. We also provide rehabilitative treatment if necessary. We will meet with you and answer any questions you have, taking the time to develop a treatment plan that is right for you.
Knee Injuries: What You Need to Know
What is Knee Pain?
Knee pain is a common problem and could be accompanied by swelling, limited range of motion, locking, popping or clicking of the joint.
Knee Pain Prevention
Some knee pain cannot be prevented, but wearing appropriate protective gear and using proper form when playing sports can help lessen the risk of knee pain caused by a sudden injury during an athletic activity. A doctor may also be able to recommend exercises that strengthen the leg muscles, helping to protect and stabilize the knee.
Causes of Knee Pain
There are dozens of possible causes of knee pain. Some common causes include:
- Ligament injury, like ACL or MCL sprain
- Meniscus tear
- Cartilage injury
- Traumatic knee injury
- Fracture of the thighbone, tibial plateau, or kneecap
- Bone contusion
- Bone cancer
One common cause of knee pain is a meniscus tear. Each knee has two menisci, C-shaped cartilage discs that absorb shock and stabilize the knee joint. There is one meniscus on the outside of the knee joint and one on the inside. Tears in these discs often occur during contact sports, where a player is twisting, pivoting, or being tackled. They may also occur in older people as a result of degeneration of the cartilage over time.
In addition to pain, a meniscal tear may cause swelling of the knee joint, limited range of motion, locking of the joint, or a clicking or popping sound when moving the knee. Meniscal tears that are caused by a sports injury often occur in conjunction with other knee injuries, like an anterior cruciate ligament tear.
Some meniscal tears heal on their own through non-surgical treatments like R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, elevation), physical therapy and over-the-counter pain medication. Others require arthroscopic surgery, where a tiny camera is inserted through a small incision to both examine and repair a torn meniscus.
Diagnosis and Treatment: Knee Injuries
Because knee pain has many potential causes, diagnosis is important to determine a treatment plan. The expert orthopedic specialists at Porter Medical Center will ask questions about symptoms, physical activity, and general health before performing a physical exam to diagnose the cause of knee pain.
Knee pain will often heal on its own with R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, elevation) or with physical therapy, but pain that does not improve with non-surgical treatments may require surgery. Robotic surgery and minimally invasive techniques allow patients to experience relief from pain with faster recovery. The knee surgeons at Porter Medical Center perform many technologically-advanced surgeries each year.
Arthroscopic Knee Surgery
Arthroscopic knee surgery occurs through the insertion of a tiny camera into a small incision. Through fiber optic technology, the knee surgeon can see the inside of the knee joint displayed on a television monitor. The surgeon can then insert instruments through other small incisions to perform specific tasks, including:
- Cartilage surgery (repairing torn cartilage in the knee joint)
- Meniscus surgery (repairing a torn meniscus)
- Synovial biopsy (taking tissue from the synovial membrane of the joint)
- Loose body removal (removing loose pieces of cartilage within the joint space)
Knee Replacement Surgery
Knee replacement surgery, generally utilized by people with arthritis in the knee, can involve either partial replacement of the knee joint or full replacement of the knee joint.
Partial Replacement Surgery
In a partial knee replacement (unicompartmental knee anthroplasty), the surgeon preserves healthy bone and ligaments in a portion of the knee and removes and replaces damaged bone and ligaments in other parts of the knee. For patients whose arthritis is limited to a specific area, partial knee replacement can reduce the size of the incisions and the recovery time.
Get the personalized care you need. Call today to request an appointment at 802-388-3194.