Orthopaedic Care for Knee Injuries and Conditions
The knee – the largest joint in the body – is comprised of bones, discs, ligaments, tendons and muscles. The knee joint absorbs the shock of walking, running, jumping and movement in general. Therefore, it is not surprising that many people suffer from at least minor knee pain at some point in their lives. Common knee problems include sprains, strains, torn cartilage, ACL injuries and arthritis, all which can occur from injury, disease or degeneration.
At Cary Orthopaedics, our knee doctors have experience in diagnosing and treating a complete spectrum of knee issues. We are often able to treat injuries and conditions with non-surgical orthopaedic care, such as injections to reduce inflammation and/or strengthening through physical therapy. Arthroscopic knee surgery or open surgery may be needed in some cases, and our joint replacement specialists are highly skilled in performing partial or total knee replacements when necessary.
Ultimately, our goal is to diagnose and treat orthopaedic knee issues to achieve the shortest recovery time and best outcome for our patients.
The knee joint consists of the femur, tibia and patella to distribute load, absorb shock, and stabilize the body. The femur or thighbone is the long bone connecting the hip to the knee and forms the upper end of the knee joint. The tibia or shinbone connects the knee to the ankle and makes up the lower side of the knee joint. The patella or kneecap is the small bone in front of the knee. The fibula is a shorter and thinner bone running parallel to the tibia on its outside.
The knee bones are connected at the joint by strong ligaments and surrounded by muscles. The ligaments of the knee joint stabilize the knee allowing it to function normally. The cruciate ligaments (anterior and posterior) are important internal, non-elastic structures that guide the knee in its normal motion. Two additional ligaments of the knee joint are the medial collateral ligament and the anterior cruciate ligament located on the inside and outside of the knee joint respectively and provide stability primarily in side-to-side motion.
In athletes, knee injuries commonly occur after landing from a jump, stopping rapidly, or direct impact as in a football tackle. Therefore, knee injuries are commonly seen in sports such as football, soccer, basketball, volleyball and skiing. In the event of a severe injury, most people cannot continue with their activity, and the knee generally swells within hours.
Common knee injuries and degenerative conditions include:
- Torn cartilage (meniscus)
- ACL injuries
- Patellar (kneecap) dislocations
- Overuse tendonitis (runner’s knee, IT band tendonitis)
In the event of an acute knee injury, the knee should be quickly treated with ice, elevation and a compressive bandage. Most knee injuries and chronic knee conditions require care from an orthopaedic doctor for assessment, diagnosis and treatment. Careful clinical examination will detect damage to the joint as well as other ligaments and structures in the knee.
Non-operative treatment for knee injuries and degenerative conditions may include rest, ice, steroid injections or physical therapy. Crutches and analgesics are sometimes necessary in the early phases of care. The goal of treatment is to reduce swelling, strengthen the muscles around the joint, and regain motion and function.
When surgery is needed to correct a knee injury or condition, Cary Orthopaedic physicians are experienced in performing leading surgical procedures, including:
- Knee arthroscopy
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction
- Partial knee replacement
- Joint replacement surgery (knee arthroplasty)