The knee is one of the most commonly injured joints. It is also one of the most complex—made up of three large bones and numerous soft tissue attachments. The most common injuries to the knee joint include the following:
1. Runner’s Knee
Formally referred to as patellofemoral pain syndrome, runner’s knee represents an inflammation of the cartilage behind the kneecap and may also involve the soft tissues that surrounding the kneecap. Runner’s knee is considered an overuse injury to the knee encountered during sports or physical activities, which typically involve jumping, squatting, lunging, and sudden pivoting activities. It also often seen as an overuse injury from too many squats or lunges during workout session. In most cases, runner’s knee is effectively treated using nonsurgical treatment options such as rest, bracing, taping, activity modification, and anti-inflammatory medications. It can, in some cases prove to be difficult to eliminate completely, and may recur, with a return to those activities, which caused the initial injury.
2. A Meniscus Tear
The menisci are C-shaped rubbery cartilage rings that are located on top of the tibia (or shinbone) and between the tibia and femur (or thigh bone). The meniscus has the important job of cushioning the knee joint. A meniscus tear occurs when the meniscus is caught between the femur and tibia during a twisting injury to the knee. Meniscus tears are most commonly seen in athletes and active individuals. Small meniscus tears can be treated using nonsurgical treatment options, such as anti-inflammatories, icing, and activity modification. Larger meniscal tears often cause severe pain and may also cause mechanical symptoms, such as locking of the knee, and may require surgical intervention in the form of an arthroscopic meniscal repair or resection.
3. An ACL Tear
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the main stabilizing ligaments in the knee. It attaches the tibia to the lateral (outside) portion of the femur. The ACL stabilizes the knee and allows the knee to move without experiencing instability, or giving way. ACL tears are most commonly seen in athletes who participate in high demand sports that involve running and cutting movements. Such sports include but are not limited to the following: soccer, football, gymnastics, and basketball.
Partial ACL tears may sometimes be treated non-operatively, with bracing and physical therapy. Complete ACL tears often require surgical intervention in the form of an arthroscopic ACL repair in which a piece of the patients tendons is taken from another area of the knee and placed through bony tunnels in the tibia and femur and secured inside the bone. Typically, 6 months to a year of physical therapy are required after the surgery for full return to play.
4. An MCL Sprain
The medial collateral ligament (MCL) connects the medial (inside) portion of the femur to the medial portion of the tibia. An MCL sprain occurs when the tendon is overstretched, usually due to a sudden change in direction, or from a blow to the outer part of the knee (clipping injury). Sprains are graded on an increasing severity scale of one to three (G1-G3). Most MCL sprains are treated using nonsurgical treatment options such as RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), bracing, activity modification, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy. Typically 4-6 weeks may be required for the injury to fully heal.
Treating Knee Injuries at Mahwah Valley Orthopedic Associates
Orthopedic specialists are medical professionals who specialize in diagnosing and treating knee injuries. The advancements in nonsurgical and surgical treatment options for knee injuries have lead to injuries being treated more effectively and in a shorter period of time.
If knee pain is affecting your quality of life, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices in either Mahwah and Clifton, NJ to arrange an appointment. We will provide you with the solution you’ve been looking for and with the right treatment program, a reduction in pain and improvement in mobility is entirely possible.
Dr. Nicholas Alexander is the founder of Mahwah Valley Orthopedic Associates and a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in both the surgical and non-surgical treatment of hip and knee conditions. Dr. Alexander completed his Fellowship in Adult Reconstruction and Reconstructive Surgery of the Hip and Knee at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and has over two decades of experience. He also serves as the Chairman of the Valley Hospital Total Joint Center.