Information on Knee Injuries
Are your knees feeling stiff or achy? Do you feel like the Tin Man from “The Wizard of Oz” when you get up from a seated position? You’re not alone. Nearly 50 million Americans feel the same way. It may be time to see the top knee surgeons in NJ.
Your knee is essential to the function of your leg. It consists of four bones and three main joints: the patellofemoral, which is the contact of the kneecap to the end of the femur; the tibiofemoral joint between the end of the femur and the top of the tibia; and the joint connecting the tibia to the top of the fibula.
Knee Pain Causes
Causes of knee pain depend on your age and activities.
- Overuse – Running and endurance sports often result in knee pain
- Trauma – Direct impact or excessive force causes damage to ligaments, cartilage and bone
- Degeneration – As we age, the structures of the knee often get weaker, thinner and tend to wear out over time
Most common diseases of the knee include:
- Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear (ACL) - The ACL is an internal ligament in your knee that attaches the tibia to the femur, and when this is torn the knee becomes unstable or loose.
- Meniscus Tear – The meniscus is a structure in your knee made of cartilage that wraps around the knee joint and supports it. When the meniscus is torn, there’s often pain and sensation of locking, catching or giving way.
- Arthritis of the Knee - A degenerative disease that features thinning and degeneration of the cartilage and meniscus, as well as overgrowth and hardening of your bones. When it becomes advanced, the bone surfaces actually rub directly on one another and the cartilage is completely worn away.
- Fractures – Fractures of the knee are not very common, but are often debilitating. The kneecap is commonly fractured from a direct impact, and the surface of the tibia is prone to injury from forces usually in the lateral direction.
- Tendinitis and Bursitis – Tendinitis and bursitis of the knee also are a common cause of knee pain. Caused by inflammation of structures about the knee, examples include pes anserine bursitis, which causes pain on the inside of your knee, and patellar tendinitis or prepatellar bursitis, which causes pain and sometimes swelling of the front of your knee.
When evaluating your knee, a knee doctor NJ at AOSMI, will detail your history and perform a physical examination. To diagnose an ACL tear, we may use the Lachman’s or anterior drawer test. To diagnose a meniscal tear, the McMurray’s test is usually most effective.
X-rays of the knee are important to evaluate your anatomy and look for evidence of fractures or arthritis. Sometimes standing X-rays or stress X-rays can yield better information than standard X-rays. MRI of the knee is often essential to diagnose injuries to the cartilage, meniscus or ligaments. CT-scans can be used to evaluate the fine anatomy of your bones.
Knee Pain Treatments
Most knee problems respond well to conservative treatment.
- Medications – Anti-inflammatories, or supplements such as Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate, which are useful for arthritis, can be extremely effective
- Physical Therapy - Used for rehabilitation of knee problems and to aid recover from knee surgery to restore function, motion and balance, and return athletes to activity.
- Bracing - Used for knee problems, and often help with pain and stability.
- Injections that are placed about the knee, some of which are for arthritis, tendinitis and bursitis.
- Steroid injections can be used to treat pain and inflammation
- Viscosupplementation (hyaluronic acid) injections nourish and coat the cartilage in the knee help with arthritis
- PRP (Platlet-Rich Plasma) Injections can heal injuries to the cartilage and ligaments of the knee
- Massage and Acupuncture - Physical treatments effective for different knee pain especially if other treatments have not worked
Orthopedic knee surgery can be performed to treat diseases and conditions that are not responding to more conservative treatments. Some surgeries that help return you to your usual activities include:
- Arthroscopic surgery of the knee - A highly advanced surgical technique that allows us to access the inside of your knee using tiny incisions. Ligaments can be reconstructed and cartilage can be repaired or regenerated using this technique.
- Specific surgeries include anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, meniscal repair or partial meniscectomy, which is a removal of the portion of the cartilage.
- Cartilage repair, regrowth, and regeneration – Through the Cartilage Center of NJ, our surgeons have many innovative techniques that can allow restoration of knee function. Cartilage can be regenerated within the knee arthroscopically using “microfracture surgery” and cartilage transplantation in addition to other methods.
- Open reduction and internal fixation - The use of plates and screws being placed across a fracture. Depending on the fracture type, sometimes intramedullary fixation can be used. This involves placing a rod through the intramedullary canal of your femur or the tibia to stabilize a fracture.
- Joint replacement surgery – Joint replacements including total or partial minimally invasive knee replacement replacement sugery.
- Examples of partial knee replacement include unicompartmental knee replacement or patellofemoral joint replacement.
If you’ve recently had a knee injury or have unexplained discomfort, you should consider the top knee surgeons in New Jersey. With a thorough evaluation and the appropriate treatment, we can help you return to a pain-free life. Call AOSMI, at 732.720.2555.