About the Knee
What Are the Common Causes of Knee Pain?
In many cases, knee pain results from overexertion or muscle soreness and subsides within a few days with ice and rest.
However, when knee pain does not subside and persists for more than a few days, or when the knee is difficult to move or swollen, it is important to consult one of the board-certified orthopedic knee specialists at OrthoNeuro in Columbus, Ohio.
They offer exams and diagnostic testing to find the underlying cause of your knee pain.
Osteoarthritis of the knee often referred to as just knee arthritis, is one of the most common orthopedic conditions, especially in aging patients. Osteoarthritis develops when the cartilage that cushions your bones wears away. It causes irritation and inflammation in the joints, leading to pain, swelling, and stiffness.
The menisci are two c-shaped pieces of cartilage on either side of the knee. They cushion your knee by evenly distributing weight while you stand, walk, run, and jump. A torn meniscus causes pain and a feeling of locking in the knee.
You have four ligaments in your knee the anterior, medial, posterior, and lateral cruciate ligaments (ACL, MCL, PCL, and LCL). They provide stability and prevent the knee from extending too far in a specific direction.
Knee ligaments are common sports injuries. Forceful twisting and abnormal overextension from rapid directional changes or collisions with other players can stretch and tear knee ligaments. An injury to one knee ligament can often cause damage to another.
Ligament tears cause symptoms, including:
- Pain in the knee
- A feeling of “catching” or “buckling” of the knee
- An audible “pop” at the moment of injury
Knee Effusion (Water on the Knee)
Your knee typically has an ounce of liquid inside of it. However, when you have an injury, arthritis, or another problem that irritates your knee, fluid accumulates to cushion and protect your joints.
Clinically, this is known as knee effusion, but most people call it water on the knee.
Knock knees, clinically referred to as “genu valgum”, is a relatively common pediatric orthopedic issue that causes the knees to bend inward. It can be seen by the knees touching when you’re standing rather than the ankles. This condition usually self-corrects during childhood, although it can persist into adulthood.
Stress fractures are a prevalent sports injury. Although stress fractures can occur in many of the bones within the body, they are most common in the lower leg and foot.
Stress fractures have three leading causes:
- When the muscles are fatigued and can no longer absorb stress, this stress transfers to the bones, causing tiny cracks to form.
- Repetitive impact while using improper footwear or form.
- Weakened bones due to osteoporosis.
Stress fractures cause pain and sensitivity that intensifies during activity.
Patella Tendon Tear
The patella tendon is a fibrous band of tissue that connects the kneecap (patella) to the top of the shinbone (tibia) and allows the knee to bend and straighten. The patella tendon can be damaged or torn in several ways but, in most cases, the tear occurs at the point where the tendon attaches to the kneecap.
Many patella tendon tears occur over time due to small micro-tears in the tendon due to overuse or repetitive strain. This is known as patella tendonitis and is also commonly referred to as runner’s knee or jumper’s knee.
The patella (kneecap) connects the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone). The patella tendon secures the patella in the trochlear groove in the knee and allows movement such as sliding up and down when you bend or extend your knee.
Patella instability is most often seen in children. It occurs when the patella does not stay within the trochlea groove and slides in and out of position.
Sprain and Strains
A sprain occurs when ligaments are stretched or torn beyond their normal range. Ligaments are tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect bone to bone. Sprains occur in the ankles, knees, wrists, and thumbs. The ankle is the most common joint to be sprained.
A strain occurs when a muscle or tendon is stretched or torn beyond its normal range. A tendon is a fibrous cord of tissue that connects muscles to bones. The lower back and hamstrings are the most common muscles to be strained.
Dislocations occur when one or more of the bones in a joint are pushed out of their normal positions. Most joint dislocations are caused by either an accident or a direct blow to the joint.
Common dislocation symptoms include:
- Pain in the joint
- A visible deformity in the joint
- Reduced mobility of the joint
- Numbness or tingling around the joint
You should seek immediate medical attention if you’ve sustained a potential dislocation, as trauma to the surrounding bones, ligaments, and soft tissue is common with a dislocation. Do not try to push your knee back into position on your own — this could cause even more damage.
Your hamstrings consist of three muscles (semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris) that extend from your pelvis down the back of your thigh to your knee.
An injury to the hamstring can be either a strain, a partial tear, or a complete tear away from the bone (avulsion).
If you have a hamstring injury, the symptoms can include:
- A feeling of “pulling” or “tearing” at the back of the leg
- Bruising or swelling
- Weakness in the leg
Most hamstring injuries are acute and occur when the muscles are stretched beyond capacity while running or quickly changing direction. However, hamstring injuries can also develop slowly when small micro-tears don’t have time to heal correctly and worsen over time.
Non-Displaced Tibial Plateau Fracture
Tibial plateau fractures occur when a force drives the femur into the top of your tibia and cracks the bone. If the bone stays in place, the fracture is non-displaced. If bone fragments shift, the fracture is classified as displaced. Non-displaced tibial plateau fractures are common as a result of accidents such as falling on your knee, a sports accident, or an automobile accident. Non-displaced tibial plateau fracture can cause long-term complications, including compartment syndrome, when untreated.
What Are the Available Knee Pain Treatment Options?
The goal of knee injections is to relieve pain, facilitate healing, and help you get back to your regular activities. Some of the common injections include corticosteroid Injections, hyaluronic acid injections, stem cell injections, etc. The doctors at OrthoNeuro include knee injections in treatment plans for various injuries and degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ACL tears, other ligament injuries, meniscus tears, and sprains.
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive joint surgery that allows your orthopedic surgeon to see inside a joint without having to make a large incision in your knee.
The experts at OrthoNeuro offer various arthroscopic knee repairs, including meniscus repair or resection and ligament repairs.
ACL repair or reconstruction are well-known arthroscopic procedures used to repair a torn ACL. ACL repair is one of the most commonly performed orthopedic surgeries. The operation restores stability and function to the knee.
Your orthopedic surgeon repairs your ACL with small sutures and a graft from either your hamstring or patella tendon to reinforce the newly repaired ligament. Your orthopedic surgeon then threads the ligament through small tunnels in the knee and reattaches it to the correct bones with small surgical screws.
Knee Replacement (Arthroplasty)
They offer conventional and robotically-assisted surgeries, depending on your specific condition and needs. OrthoNeuro uses the NAVIO Surgical System uses robotics-assisted technology for robotically-assisted surgeries.
During total knee replacement, your surgeon removes the damaged bone and cartilage from your knee and replaces them with metal and plastic components. The replacement parts mimic the anatomy and function of a healthy knee so that you can get back to your regular activities.
Your knee surgeon may recommend a partial knee replacement if arthritis or injury has only damaged one compartment (or side) of your knee joint.
During this procedure, the knee specialist only removes and replaces the damaged tissue, leaving your healthy tissue intact.
A revision knee replacement might be necessary if your original knee replacement fails or wears out over the years. Your surgeon removes the faulty prosthetics and any damaged tissue before placing new replacement parts during a revision knee replacement.
If you have a severe knee injury or chronic knee pain that reduces your mobility or quality of life, contact OrthoNeuro to schedule a consultation. Our expert orthopedic surgeons are on hand to diagnose and treat your knee problem.