Your knee is more complex than you may realize. It consists of interconnected structures—two types of cartilage, two important tendons, four main ligaments, and three main bones—that work together to give it stability, flexibility, and range of motion. However, while these components are crucial for the proper function of your knee, they are also potential sites for injury, whether due to normal wear and tear, repetitive stress, or trauma.
At the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine in San Antonio, Texas, our board-certified orthopedic doctors provide high-quality, comprehensive care for a wide range of knee conditions. Here a few of those that we treat at our facility.
As with life in general, things go smoothly when they are “in the groove.” Such is the case with your kneecap, also known as patella. As long as it stays in its groove in your knee, you can move easily; however, when it slips out, it causes pain and other discomforts, such as swelling, stiffness, and crackling sensation during movement.
Our orthopedic doctors at the Center for Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine usually order an X-ray to see how the kneecap fits into its groove. If you sustained just a partial dislocation, we may recommend nonsurgical treatments, such as braces and exercises. Braces are intended for immobilizing the area, while exercises are geared toward strengthening the muscles in your thigh to ensure kneecap alignment.
However, if your kneecap is totally dislocated, we may perform patellar reduction. This is a safe, simple procedure in which we will apply gentle force to correctly align your kneecap and restore it to its normal position.
If your kneecap continues to slip out of its groove, we may require surgery to realign or tighten the tendons that keep the kneecap in its place or release the tissues that are pulling your kneecap off track.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of knee arthritis that occurs as a result of the gradual wear and tear of the cartilage in the knee.
Over-the-counter or prescription anti-inflammatories and pain relievers, as well as health supplements such as chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine—both of which also have anti-inflammatory properties—are typically the first-line treatment for knee arthritis.
We may prescribe these medications in conjunction with other nonsurgical treatment methods, such as steroid injections and viscosupplementation. The latter is a series of hyaluronic acid injections that restores the cushioning and lubricating properties of the synovial fluid—the fluid found in our joints.
We also recommend strengthening and stretching exercises, and lifestyle modifications such as proper diet and weight management to reduce the strain on your knee/s, if you have excess weight issues.
However, if nonsurgical options fail to provide relief, we may recommend any of the following surgical procedures, depending on the extent of the joint damage:
- Arthroscopic surgery– this involves the removal of any debris or repair of torn cartilage inside your joint that might be exacerbating your condition.
The procedure is done via arthroscopy, a minimally invasive approach in which smaller incisions are made to access the inside of your knee.
- Knee osteotomy– either the shinbone or thigh bone is cut and reshaped to take the pressure off your knee
- Total or partial knee replacement– this is when your surgeon replaces the damaged part(s) of your joint with prosthesis to alleviate pain and restore normal knee function
Knee Sprains or Strains
If you’re confused about the difference between a knee sprain and a knee strain, the former occurs when the ligament in your knee is torn or stretched, while the latter pertains to the injury to the muscle or tendon.
Symptoms of a knee sprain include pain, bruising, inflammation, limited mobility, and a popping sensation, while in a knee strain, you may feel pain, swelling, muscle weakness, muscle spasm, and limited function.
The treatment we recommend for both sprains and strains will usually depend on their severity. For mild cases of both injuries, we recommend the R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) method to alleviate pain and swelling. For faster healing and recovery, we recommend physical therapy. For severe cases of both injuries, we typically require braces or splints to immobilize the knee, or surgery to repair the ligament and/or tendon, or ruptured muscle. Surgery is also usually followed by months of physical therapy.
High-Quality Orthopedic Care in San Antonio, TX
Knee pain may be common, but that doesn’t mean you should just put up with it!
For prompt, high-quality treatment for your knee condition, schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic doctors at the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine.
Call us at 210-692-7400 or use our appointment request form today.