Wednesday, October 3, 2012

MY PAINFUL ACHING KNEE


The knee is a joint that we call a hinged joint.  This is a very restrained joint; therefore, it is subject to stresses from overuse, as well as trauma, that result in tearing of cartilages and ligaments that one may not see in a shoulder that is more unrestrained, such as the shoulder.  Common knee injuries that are treated by your orthopedist are anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries.  The ACL is a major restraining ligament from the lower leg subluxing.  These are commonly non-contact injuries seen in patients that participate in sports, such as skiing and basketball, as well as weekend athletes playing softball.

Medial collateral ligament injuries, or MCL injuries, are also a result of a direct blow to the outside of the knee.  It can be seen in football, but also can be seen in industrial accidents where the patient will fall and sustain an injury, where the leg will point out from the body at a so-called valgus injury. 

PCL Injuries:  The posterior cruciate ligament injury is commonly seen in a blow from the front of the knee.  This can be seen in accidents such as a dashboard injury or from a direct blow anteriorly, such as a football injury where a helmet would hit the leg and the tibia anteriorly. 

Torn Cartilages:  The cartilages that we commonly talk about are the menisci.  There is a medial and a lateral meniscus.  This is commonly seen torn with a twisting flexion injury.  It can be intermittently painful, having the patient have a sensation of sticking and catching in the knee or popping or locking associated with swelling.  This can then go away, as a meniscus fragment can actually reduce itself and become essentially asymptomatic until the knee is stressed again.

I have enclosed a schematic of what a knee looks like so that you can view these different components that we discussed that are part of what we treat routinely in orthopedics.

If you have any problems with your knee, I would be happy to see you and treat you and educate you for now, in your future endeavor. 

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