Knee Injuries

Make an appointment today. No referral necessary.

Knee injuries such as sprains, tears, dislocations and fractures can happen to anyone at any time. Athletes get hurt on the court, and we all can slip, twisting our knee.

Treatment of knee injuries may require repairing bones, ligaments, cartilage, tendons, muscles and joints. The fellowship-trained and board-certified orthopedists at Norton Orthopedic Institute specialize in rehabilitation strategies as well as arthroscopic surgery and other minimally invasive procedures. Our aim is to help you return to the activities you enjoy most.

Injury to the Outside of the Knee

Lateral pain, or pain on the outside of the knee, can be sharp and defined, come and go, and change over time. It can be caused by several different reasons including:

  • Activities such as running or cycling long distances every week, or when you suddenly increase distance or frequency of running or cycling
  • Injury, especially one that pushes the knee outward from the opposite leg
  • The way you walk, as it may be putting strain on the outer knee
  • Arthritis, bursitis or tendinitis in the area

Do you need to see a specialist?

Take our hip and knee assessment to find out if it’s time to talk to one of our specialists about your joint pain. Our doctors are available for appointments to discuss the best treatment plan for you. 

Injury to the Inside of the Knee

Medial pain, or pain on the inside of the knee, can be sharp and defined, come and go, and change over time. Inner knee pain is often the result of deteriorating cartilage in the joint, but there are other causes as well, including:

  • Activities such as running or cycling long distances every week, or when you suddenly increase distance or frequency of running or cycling
  • Medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury (The MCL runs along the outside of the inner knee and can be strained or torn.)
  • The way you walk, as it may be putting strain on the inner knee
  • Arthritis, bursitis or tendinitis in the area

Soft-tissue Knee Injuries

ACL tear – The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) connects your thighbone (femur) to your shinbone (tibia) and runs under your kneecap (patella). A sprain or tear is most common during activities involving sudden starts and stops or sudden changes in direction. It’s very common in activities such as basketball, football and soccer, but can affect nonathletes as well.

MCL tear – The MCL connects the bottom of your thighbone to the inside of your upper shinbone (tibia) and helps keep it in place. Stress on the outside of the knee can put sudden and intense pressure, stretching the ligament.

The result can be a sprain, partial tear or complete tear of the ligament. The same event that injures the MCL often injures the ACL as well.

PCL tear – The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) runs down the back of the knee. The PCL is larger and stronger than the ACL and isn’t injured as frequently, but still can be sprained or torn. Bending your knee backward, dislocation, a hard hit to the front of the knee or a bad landing after a jump are typical causes of a PCL tear.

Meniscus tear – The menisci are wedge-shaped rubbery discs that fit between the bottom of your thigh bone and the top of your shin, providing cushioning and stability to the knee. A meniscus can tear due to an injury or degeneration over time. Pivoting or cutting while running can cause a meniscus to tear. So can intense contact. In a degenerated meniscus, tears can result from less challenging, everyday activities.

Sometimes a torn meniscus doesn’t cause much difficulty right away. But after a few days, the knee can become stiff, swollen and painful. Sometimes the knee seems to “give out.”

Patella Fractures

The kneecap (patella) is a round bone embedded on a tendon and helps protect the knee joint. Ligaments attach it to the thigh muscles and the shinbone. Patella fractures can range from hairline cracks to shattering into three or more pieces. Patella fractures are capable of piercing the skin.

Falls, auto accidents and impact with ball or stick while playing sports are some of the causes of a patella fracture.

First Aid for Knee Injuries

Minor knee pain often can be treated at home. The first home remedy is the “RICE” method:

  • Rest the knee.
  • Ice the area three or four times a day for about 20 minutes at a time.
  • Compress the knee using an elastic compression bandage.
  • Elevate the knee with pillows or blankets to the same level or higher than your heart.

You also may take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen to reduce swelling and pain.

If symptoms worsen over the next few days, or if the above remedies don’t make you feel better, see your health care provider.

You may need an assistive device such as a brace or crutches. Or your provider may prescribe physical therapy to help strengthen and stabilize the knee.

Other nonsurgical treatments include injections such as corticosteroids.

If you do not respond to nonsurgical treatments, your doctor may recommend knee surgery to repair or replace the knee joint or surrounding tissue, ligaments or tendons.

Surgical Options

  • A tiny camera and tools can be inserted into your knee in a minimally invasive procedure. With the camera providing detailed visibility, your orthopedist can trim damaged cartilage, remove loose debris, irrigate the inside of the knee and even repair an ACL tear or other damage.
  • Partial knee replacement: The surgeon removes either the inside or outside of the knee joint and replaces it with artificial parts.
  • Total knee replacement: The surgeon will replace the ends of the femur (both inside and outside parts of the joint) and tibia with metal and plastic pieces. The surgeon may place a plastic button on the back of the kneecap to replace worn-out cartilage.

Care That’s Focused on You

  • Minimally invasive procedures can have you home quickly with less pain and faster recovery.
  • Sophisticated pain management aims to keep you comfortable and safe.
  • We have a deep commitment to getting you moving again and managing your pain so you can keep up with your physical therapy.
  • With 30 orthopedic locations in Louisville, Southern Indiana and surrounding communities, we have specialists near you.
  • Communicate with your provider, manage appointments, refill prescriptions and more, anytime, from a computer or mobile device with a free Norton MyChart account.

Why Choose Norton Orthopedic Institute

More patients choose Norton Orthopedic Institute for hip or knee replacements and other orthopedic procedures than any other health care provider in Louisville or Southern Indiana.

  • About 50 providers, including board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons, offer care at twelve locations in Louisville and Southern Indiana.
  • U.S. News & World Report’s 2023-2024 Best Hospitals listings rated Norton Healthcare’s adult-service hospitals in Louisville as high performing in hip replacement and knee replacement.
  • Same-day appointments often are available.
  • Norton Healthcare is the first health system in the nation to be recognized as an Advanced Orthopedic & Spine Center of Excellence by DNV.
  • Our hip replacement specialists are pioneers in minimally invasive surgeries focused on minimizing pain and recovery time.
  • Robotic-assisted surgical techniques improve precision for a more natural-feeling knee replacement to get you moving again.
  • Educational programs help patients prepare for joint replacement surgery and recovery.
  • Medicare, Medicaid and most major commercial insurance plans are accepted.
  • Your free Norton MyChart account allows you to communicate with your provider, manage appointments, get alerted if an earlier appointment becomes available, refill prescriptions and more from a mobile device or computer.

Related Stories

How a total knee replacement got her back in the dance line
Rediscovering the joy of running after knee surgery
Norton Healthcare, Norton Children’s expand services in Westport Plaza
How to prevent golfer’s elbow

Schedule an Appointment

Select an appointment date and time from available spots listed below.