You should never ignore knee pain, but how do you know if you have an injured knee or if the pain you’re experiencing typical pain from overuse?
A good rule to follow is if you’re experiencing swelling and pain, or if you know you’ve injured your knee by falling or playing sports, it’s time for a medical evaluation. If left untreated, the injury will continue producing a nagging pain likely to intensify over time, leading to worsening symptoms, like loss of motion and an affected gait.
The reality is that all your weight rests on two very vital joints for good mobility—your ankles and knees. So, any amount of stress on these joints can adversely affect your mobility. Here are three common knee injuries that we encounter daily at Jaffe Sports Medicine. They are by no means the only injuries you can face, but please read on to learn more and contact us for an evaluation if you believe we can help your knee pain.
Tendinitis is a painful condition that occurs when the connective tissues between your muscles and bones (tendons) become inflamed. Knee tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendon that connects your patella to your tibia.
Tendonitis of the knee is a frequent injury among athletes who tend to jump frequently, such as basketball players, tennis players, cheerleaders, and downhill skiers. However, you do not need to have ever been an athlete to have such an injury.
Injury is often due to overuse or repetitive stress on the knee, which creates tiny tears in the tendon. Over time, the tendon becomes inflamed, eventually weakening the muscle and causing knee pain. In addition, we see tendonitis in careers that require a repetitive type of motion or require heavy exertions continually.
The most common symptom of knee tendonitis is pain, which may be a gradual onset or come on suddenly and severe, especially if calcium deposits are present.
Treatment options for tendonitis are vast. We will work with conservative measures to treat the first, which include physical therapy. We will also try Cortisone Injections in the knee, which often will provide comfort for several months and allow time to rest the knee. Surgery is rarely needed and only for severe problems that do not respond to other treatments.
Just keep in mind that It takes longer for a tendon to heal than for other soft tissues to heal, so be patient while you’re healing. Also, remember that if you do not respect the healing process, the injury could become worse and take much longer to heal.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries (ACL)
An anterior cruciate ligament injury is the over-stretching or tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee. A tear may be partial or complete.
They occur when one of the four main ligaments in the knee, called the ACL, tears, leaving the knee less stable. The ACL is one of four ligaments that connect the thighbone (femur) to the tibia (shin). These ligaments are what give the knee and leg flexibility and allow them to move quickly.
The most common sign and symptoms you have injured your ACL are you may hear a “popping” sound, followed by pain and sudden weakness in or about the knee. Chances are, you will require a professional evaluation as soon as possible.
An ACL injury occurs due to rapid direction changes, improper landing from jumps, and collision in the knee with others. Though we do see these injuries in athletes frequently, they can still occur in everyday settings.
Examples are exertions such as gym workouts and working in a fast-paced and repetitive environment. Certain players of sports also run high risks of ACL injuries, such as football, basketball, soccer, hockey, tennis, and cheerleading.
If you have problems with your ACL, you will immediately have trouble walking and reduced mobility noted in your range of motion in the affected knee. You will also experience pain and swelling after the injury occurs. You will also experience tenderness along the joint.
Treatment options for ACL injuries depend on the extent of the injury. Not all ACL injuries require surgery. However, we will consider the scope of the damage and discuss the best treatment option for you. Jaffe Sports Medicine always recommends physical therapy after an ACL repair has been performed.
The meniscus is the cartilage the fits between the femur and tibia and acts as the knee’s shock absorbers. This cartilage allows the knee joint to glide smoothly and distribute the forces within the knee during exertions. Unfortunately, the meniscus can tear due to a sports-related injury or due to degenerative joint disease, with a gradual onset of symptoms and loss of motion.
Like the ACL, an injury may coincide with a “popping” sound and immediate pain and swelling. In cases of degenerative tears, you should describe what you hear or feel, such as a clicking, catching, or locking of the knee.
Surgery may be required, depending on the extent of the injury and severity of the meniscus tear.
You cannot help certain conditions through non-surgical solutions. Jaffe Sports Medicine is proud to offer a complete array of medical services to aid in treating a multitude of pain conditions and injuries. In addition, our orthopedic surgery options provide solutions for patients dealing with musculoskeletal disorders.
We perform the following surgical procedures at Jaffe Sports Medicine:
- Operative and Non-operative treatment of shoulder, knee, elbow, wrist, and ankle pain
- Operative and non-operative treatment of arthritis
- Outpatient Total Shoulder Replacement
- Outpatient Minimally Invasive Total Knee Replacement
- Outpatient Robotic Partial Knee Replacement
- Outpatient Minimally Invasive Partial Knee Replacement
- Advanced Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery (Rotator Cuff Repair, Instability and Labral Repair)
- Advanced Arthroscopic Knee Surgery (Meniscal Repair and ACL Reconstruction, Including “No Incision” Or All Inside Reconstruction)
- Arthroscopic Ankle, Elbow and Wrist Surgery
- Bone Fracture Care and Surgery
- Treatment of All Athletic Injuries
- Minimally Invasive Techniques
TEXT BY M. HIATT