The knee is the largest joint in the body. The upper and lower bones of the knee are separated by two discs called the meniscus. These menisci provide shock absorption and stability to the joint. The upper leg bone (femur) and the lower leg bones (tibia and fibula) are connected to the femur by ligaments, tendons, and muscles.
The surfaces of the bones inside the knee joint are covered by articular cartilage, which provides a smooth gliding surface for joint movement. The patella (knee cap) tracks within a groove on the femur and guides proper extension of the lower leg while walking. Bursas are found surrounding the knee, located between tendons, ligaments and bony prominences. Their role is to minimize friction between these parts. It is not uncommon to injure one or more of these structures at some point from trauma or repetitive stress.
Knee pain can have many sources and many causes. Because of this fact, and the limited amount of overall mobility that the knee joint has, accurately diagnosing the problem can present a dilemma. It is important to first locate the source of the pain and then attempt to identify its underlying cause. Some common sources of knee pain are meniscus tears, ligament tears, bursitis, tendon tears, tendinitis, muscle tightness, and patellofemoral pain syndrome. Some common causes of knee pain are acute injury, chronic injury, altered foot and ankle biomechanics, altered hip and pelvis biomechanics, and osteoarthritis.
Before treatment can begin, all contributing causes to the condition must be determined. Initial treatment may include rest, reducing inflammation, stabilizing the joint with a brace, and joint injections. Treatment should then shift focus to flexibility, strengthening, stability, and improved biomechanical functioning of the knee and surrounding joints.
At Senior Physical Medicine, we pride ourselves in getting the root of the problem. We then use the best conservative approach to getting you back on track. Many of our patients will return to their normal activities without the need for surgery.