Your knee is a complex joint with many sensitive components, making it vulnerable to a variety of injuries. This critical joint plays an essential role in everyday mobility, and pain resulting from knee conditions or injuries can seriously impact your quality of life.
Many knee injuries can be successfully treated with simple measures, such as bracing, or rehabilitation exercises. Other injuries may require an injection or surgery to correct.
But proper treatment can't begin without an accurate diagnosis. If you experience any level of discomfort or pain in your knee, it's important to schedule an appointment with an expert physician at Resurgens. We use state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging technology to help identify your specific condition and develop an effective treatment plan.
Types of Knee Conditions and Injuries
Regardless of your age, the bones, muscles, and tendons that make up your knees can be affected by trauma, overuse, genetic conditions, and other circumstances. Follow the links below to learn more about the specific knee conditions and injuries that our expert physicians can treat.
Anatomy of the Knee
Anatomy of the Knee: The tibia forms the base of the knee. This bone - also called the shinbone - is the large bone of the lower leg. The smaller bone of the lower leg, the fibula, connects to the tibia just below the knee. It is not part of the joint. Above this is the femur (or thigh bone), which is the longest, largest, and heaviest bone of the body. And the patella, commonly known as the kneecap, covers and protects the front of the knee joint.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear (ACL Tear)
Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear (ACL Tear): The ACL is a vital ligament in your knee that supports many types of movement. It can tear during abrupt movements such as sudden stops, pivots, or directional changes. It can also tear when a person jumps and lands awkwardly. In some cases, ACL tears can result from traumatic injuries such as a vehicular accident or a violent tackle. A common symptom of an ACL tear is a popping sound or sensation in the knee at the moment of injury. The knee may feel very painful, and it may swell. You may be unable to continue physical activity. In some cases, an ACL tear can be treated conservatively in patients who have a low activity level. Non-surgical options may include crutches, a knee brace, and strengthening and stability exercises. More active patients may require surgery and rehabilitation.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries in Women
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries in Women: The anatomy of women's hips and legs may make women more prone to ACL injuries. Women have wider hips than men, and this increases the angle at which women's femurs meet their tibias at the knee joints. This increased angle may place a higher amount of stress on the ACL during specific movements.
Avascular Necrosis (Osteonecrosis)
Avascular Necrosis (Osteonecrosis): There are two distinct types of this condition. One type, called spontaneous osteonecrosis, almost always affects only one knee. While knee injury is associated with the condition, doctors aren't entirely sure what causes it to develop. Spontaneous osteonecrosis of the knee is most common in women who are older than age 55. The other type is called secondary osteonecrosis. It usually affects both knees. While it's linked with a variety of risk factors, including corticosteroid use, alcohol abuse, and blood clotting disorders, its cause is unknown. Secondary osteonecrosis of the knee is most common in women who are younger than age 55. While symptoms vary, both types of osteonecrosis can limit the mobility of the knee joint. Treatment options range from non-surgical bracing to joint replacement surgery.
Goosefoot (Pes Anserine) Bursitis of the Knee
Goosefoot (Pes Anserine) Bursitis of the Knee: This condition results from constant stress or friction against your bursa, which are fluid-filled sacs that help counter friction in joints. Sometimes when bursa swell - usually due to overuse - it can cause pain. Treatment options include rest, medications, and physical therapy. If these aren't helpful, you may benefit from surgery.
Hamstring Muscle Injuries
Hamstring Muscle Injuries: Hamstring strains can range from mild to severe. Mild strains involve an overstretching of your muscle fibers. These strains are commonly called a pulled muscle. Moderate strains may include a partial tearing of the muscle or the tendon that attaches it to your bone. Hamstring injuries, even severe ones, can be treated effectively. Your healthcare provider can recommend treatment options. If you have had a hamstring injury, you may be at an increased risk of injuring the muscle again in the future.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)
Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS): As you move your leg, the iliotibial band - a thick band of tissue that spans from your hip to your shinbone - can rub against your hip and knee bones and cause irritation over time. Iliotibial band syndrome is common in cyclists and runners. Poor training habits may raise your risk. You're also more likely to develop it if the structure of your leg causes the band to rub. For many people, iliotibial band syndrome causes knee pain. Many people feel it on the outer side of their knee. But you can feel pain anywhere along the length of this band, all the way up to your hip.
Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) Injury
Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) Injury: You can injure your LCL when your knee is pushed sideways toward the outer side of your body. A hard blow to the inner side of your knee is a common culprit. With a mild injury, your LCL may only stretch, and some of its fibers may tear. Severe injury may cause your LCL to rupture altogether. An LCL injury causes pain and swelling of the outer side of your knee. Symptoms include your knee feeling stiff, unstable, and weak. Sometimes your knees may lock or catch when you walk. After an LCL injury, some people experience foot numbness or weakness.
Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Injury
Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Injury: You can injure your MCL when your knee is pushed sideways toward the inner side of your body. A hard blow to the outer side of your knee is a common culprit. With a mild injury, your MCL may only stretch, and some of its fibers may tear. If severe enough, you may rupture your MCL. An MCL injury causes pain and swelling of the inner side of your knee. Your knee may feel unstable, weak, and stiff. When walking, you may feel your knee lock or catch. An MCL injury can cause you to feel numbness or weakness in the foot.
Meniscus Tear: Suddenly twisting or rotating your knee can cause a meniscus to tear. Tearing a meniscus can also occur while kneeling, squatting, and heavy lifting. Symptoms may include a popping sensation and pain in your knee. You may have trouble straightening your leg. As you age, your menisci gradually become thin and brittle, which can increase your risk for a tear. Consult with your doctor before starting any treatment plan.
Osgood-Schlatter Disease: This is a condition caused by overuse in children who play sports. And it often happens during growth spurts. It's linked to a large tendon called the patellar tendon, which attaches to a bump on the tibia called the tibial tubercle. As you run and jump, the tendon pulls against this bump. That places a lot of stress on the nearby growth plate, and it gradually becomes damaged and inflamed. Osgood-Schlatter disease causes pain and swelling just below the front of the knee. The tibial tubercle may enlarge. Your thigh muscles may feel tight, and you may limp. Often it only affects one knee, but in some people, it affects both. Treatment options may include rest, medications, and stretching exercises.
Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis of the knee is more common in older people, in women, and in people who have occupations that place increased stress on the knees. People who have certain diseases, bone deformities, or a genetic predisposition are also at a higher risk. Obesity can also raise a person's risk for osteoarthritis of the knee because extra body weight increases stress on the knee joints. This rubbing can cause the gradual growth of bony bumps along the edge of the joint. These lumps, called bone spurs (or osteophytes), can cause joint pain. Treatment varies according to the extent of your condition.
Osteochondritis Dissecans of the Knee
Osteochondritis Dissecans of the Knee: This condition may result from acute knee trauma or repeated knee joint stress. Osteochondritis dissecans is more common in athletes who participate in running and jumping sports. Arterial blockage and genetic factors can cause the condition. Restriction of the blood supply to the end of your bone is believed to be associated with osteochondritis dissecans. However, the ultimate cause of the condition is unknown.
Patella Tendon Rupture
Patella Tendon Rupture: This condition results from a variety of causes. Some common causes of patella tendon rupture include falling, forceful jumping, or severe kneecap trauma. Your tendon is more likely to tear if it's already weak because of chronic disease, medications, or a previous injury. A patellar tendon tear is a painful injury. It can make it hard for you to straighten your leg and hard for you to walk. You may have bruising and cramping. With a complete tear, you may feel a popping sensation. Your kneecap may slide up above your knee. Your doctor will be able to provide more information about available treatment options.
Patellar Tendonitis (Jumper's Knee)
Patellar Tendonitis (Jumper's Knee): You can injure your patellar tendon if you stress it. That can happen if you do a lot of physical activity that involves running or jumping. Other problems, such as tight thigh muscles, tight hamstrings, or a muscle imbalance of the leg, can also cause a tendon injury. This injury causes pain between your kneecap and your shin. It hurts more with activity. Jumper's knee may hurt so much that it's hard for you to get up out of a chair or to walk up or down staircases. Treatment will vary according to your condition.
Patellar Tracking Disorder
Patellar Tracking Disorder: Patellar misalignment can be caused by structural problems with the bones of your leg. Misalignment can result from abnormal tightness or looseness of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support the patella. Repetitive stress or knee injury can also cause misalignment. It may feel painful to walk up or down staircases. It may also hurt to jump, squat, or kneel. You may feel sensations of grinding or popping when you bend or extend your leg. Your knee may also feel unstable.
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner's Knee)
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner's Knee): This condition refers to pain felt in the kneecap. As you bend or extend your knee, your patella slides up and down in a groove on your femur. If you have this syndrome, you may have injured the soft tissues that support and cushion your kneecap. Or, you may have some damage to the cartilage on the underside of the kneecap. This syndrome can cause pain under and around one or both kneecaps. It's a dull, aching sensation. You may feel it more during activity, and also after you sit with your knees bent for a long time. And you may hear popping or cracking sounds in your knee.
Prepatellar Bursitis (Kneecap Bursitis)
Prepatellar Bursitis (Kneecap Bursitis): This condition results from repetitive or prolonged strain on your kneecap. Roofers, plumbers, carpet layers, and other people who spend long periods on their knees are at an increased risk for this condition. Prepatellar bursitis can also be caused by direct trauma to the front of the knee. It can result from infection or medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout.
Quadriceps Tendon Tear
Quadriceps Tendon Tear: This condition is often caused by trauma. It can result from an awkward landing after a jump or a fall. It can also be caused by a direct blow, or by a laceration to the front of your knee. Weakened tendons create an elevated risk for this type of injury. Tendon weakness can lead to chronic conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and leukemia. The use of corticosteroids, the use of certain antibiotics, and by long periods of immobilization can cause tendon weakness. A quadriceps tendon tear is a painful injury. It may result in swelling, bruising, tenderness, and cramping. If the tendon ruptures completely, you will often feel a popping sensation. You will be unable to straighten the leg from a bent position and may have difficulty walking. In some cases, the patella may slip downward, leaving an indentation at the top of the knee. Treatment options depend on the severity of the tear.
Shin Splints (Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome)
Shin Splints (Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome): This condition is the result of repetitive, high-impact leg activities damaging the muscles, tendons, and bones of your lower legs. The connective tissue that holds muscle to bone can stretch and tear. Damage causes inflammation and pain. Shin splints can be a problem for runners, dancers, gymnasts, and other active people. It can develop when you increase your activity level or change your activity routine. Running on hard surfaces is a common culprit. Worn out shoes or ones that don't fit properly can increase your likelihood of getting shin splints.
Torn Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL)
Torn Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL): If you stretch or tear a PCL - a ligament that connects your femur to your tibia - your knee may become unstable. The PCL can be injured by a sudden blow to the front of your knee when your knee is bent. That can happen for a variety of reasons, including playing contact sports, or car accidents, or if you misstep and twist your knee. PCL injuries cause pain and swelling. Your knee may feel stiff. You may have trouble walking, and your knee may feel unstable. Treatment depends on your needs.