The inside of the knee is a complex weight-bearing structure capable of incredible flexibility and range of motion. Unfortunately, this also means a lot of things can go wrong. A single ligament is responsible for more than 150,000 injuries a year, and the knee has many ligaments, tendons, and cartilage components.
At Advanced Orthopedics & Sports Medicine (AOSM), with locations in Union City and Dyersburg, Tennessee, Dr. Michael Calfee, Paxton Sisson PA-C, and the rest of our skilled team can help determine what’s causing your knee pain.
The knee is a hinge joint, meaning it’s meant to swing back and forth along a single plane. Demands put on the joint — particularly by athletes — can mean the joint gets abused and ends up working in a way it wasn’t meant to. That’s when serious injury can occur.
There’s a stabilizing “X” inside your knee formed by the anterior cruciate ligament and posterior cruciate ligaments. These stabilize the knee and keep the lower leg bone (tibia) from sliding behind the lower one (femur). High-contact sports like football, soccer, or basketball see a significant number of ACL injuries due to starting, stopping, and pivoting at high speed. An ACL tear is usually accompanied by an audible pop and intense knee pain.
Your menisci are two rubbery discs of fibrocartilage that sit between your leg bones and act as shock absorbers. When you tear a meniscus, the knee can feel very unstable, you’ll experience shooting pain, and your knee may catch or lock as you bend and unbend it.
As you age, your joints start to wear out from repetitive use. Sports can make this happen even faster. Cartilage wears thin, and bones begin to grate on each other. The pain from osteoarthritis is usually a deep ache, and you may feel grating or clicking in your knee.
There are fluid-filled sacs known as bursa around your joints, providing a cushion for bones, tendons, and muscles. If these get inflamed, you can end up with knee pain plus redness and swelling of the knee.
Your patella, or kneecap, is the small bone over the front of your knee. It’s susceptible to breakage from direct impact; in fact, 1% of broken bones are of the patella. Pain is acute, and swelling can be extreme. However, many athletes try to walk this off, not realizing they have a broken bone.
Another component of the knee joint is the tendons that connect muscle to bone. A stretched or torn tendon can cause knee instability, pain, and swelling. If you find you’re having trouble flexing the joint, it could be tendinitis.
Struggling with knee pain? It’s time to find out what’s going on. A diagnosis and the right treatment can save your mobility. To get in touch, call the AOSM location closest to you, or book an appointment online.