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