The knee is the largest and most complex joint in the body, and being a weight-bearing joint makes it susceptible to injury. Knee injuries can be sudden or develop over time and can affect any of the ligaments, cartilage, and tendons surrounding the knee joint. The complexity of the knee joint and the fact it is an active weight-bearing joint, helping us to sit, stand, lift, walk, run, and jump, make the knee one of the most commonly injured joints.
It is made up of four bones, connected by muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The femur is the large bone in the thigh, and the tibia is the large shin bone. The fibula is the smaller shin bone, located next to the tibia. The patella, also known as the kneecap, is the small bone in front of the knee. It slides up and down in a groove in the femur (the femoral groove) as the knee bends and straightens.
As the largest joint in the body, the knee holds almost the entire human body weight, making it susceptible to injuries. A variety of factors can cause knee pain and injury, including frequent heavy lifting, body weight, sports, and/or older age.
The most common knee conditions are:
- Knee Osteoarthritis
- ACL Injuries
- Meniscal Tear
Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is typically the result of wear and tear and progressive loss of articular cartilage. Knee osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative joint disease. It is most common in the elderly.
Articular cartilage is the smooth coating that covers the surface of the bones inside the knee. It also cushions and helps lubricate the joint surfaces. In osteoarthritis, this coating is damaged, leading to reduced lubrication and cushioning. The articular cartilage begins to degrade, and over time it can thin or form cracks. Pieces of cartilage may come loose and float inside the knee, further irritating the joint. After a long period of time, the cartilage can become completely “worn away,” and the bones begin to rub together, causing considerable pain.
Eventually, osteoarthritis may lead to disability, as it is a progressive disease. Typically, clinical symptoms become more severe, more frequent, and more debilitating over time. The rate of progression and intensity of clinical symptoms varies for each individual.
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries can be very painful and can cause significant loss of knee function. ACL injuries are among the most common knee injuries among athletes but can also occur in non-athletes.
In an ACL injury, our sports medicine fellowship-trained and board-certified orthopedic surgeons at OrthoMed Center are here to help. With proven treatment protocols and excellent care staff, we are committed to helping you recover.
A meniscus tear is one of the most frequently occurring cartilage injuries of the knee that is quite painful. When a person injures one of the main supporting ligaments of the knee, the knee can become unstable, increasing the chance of a meniscus tear. Although a meniscus tear is common in athletes, anyone can experience such an injury.
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your knee, contact OrthoMed Center at (209) 524-4438 to schedule an appointment. Our orthopedic surgeons are experts in their field in both surgical and nonsurgical interventions. They provide thorough and accurate diagnoses and recommend the best treatment for your condition to assure maximal recovery. For your convenience, you may also request an appointment online.