The knee joint is a hinge joint allowing movement in one axis that is to bend(flexion) and straighten(extension) the knee. The knee joint connects the femur(thigh bone also the longest bone) to the tibia(shin bone). The knee joint consist of the tibiofemoral joint (shin and thigh bone) and the patellofemoral joint that is the patella(knee cap) articulating with the femur. The knee serves as a weight bearing joint, supporting the body upright, making walking more efficient by helping the leg propel forward.
Ligaments are bands of strong tissue that connect bone to bone. The ligaments of the knee joint connect the femur to the tibia holding the in place preventing any excess movements. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the posterior cruciate ligament(PCL)The medial and lateral collateral ligaments (MCL and PCL).These ligaments join the bone above and below, provide stability and prevent excess forward backward and side to side movement of the femur on a fixed tibia and vice versa. The medial and lateral menisci(articular cartilage)act as shock absorbers between the femur and tibia. Injury to the ligaments can affect the knee stability, meniscal tear may interfere in the knee flexion and extension, aging and degenerative changes also affect the knee.
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A knee joint affected by arthritis has following symptoms. The pain develops gradually over time, grinding sensation in the knee, loss of joint spaceand poor range of motion.
Mild to moderate pain can be relieved by medications like NSAIDs, icing and hot water fermentation along with physiotherapy to strengthen the musculature surrounding the knee. Moderate to severe pain that hampers daily activities needs attention from the Orthopaedist.
Signs and symptoms that sometimes accompany knee pain include:
The wear and tear of the cartilage leads to friction between the two bones leading to osteoarthritis(OA). OA is one of the most common reasons for knee pain. Trauma, bursitis(inflammation caused by repeated overuse or injury of the knee)chondromalacia patella(damaged cartilage under the kneecap). gout: arthritis caused by the buildup of uric acid. Ligament injuries also cause knee pain.
The risk factors are:
The following tips may help prevent knee pain:
The most common Knee injuries include fractures around the knee joint, tear of soft tissues like ligaments, meniscus, tendons, dislocation.
The ACL(anterior cruciate ligament) connects the thighbone to the shinbone, at the knee. This ligament prevent instability in the knee. The ligament gets stretched or tears when the firmly planted foot twists or pivots at the same time on a locked knee(straight knee). It may tear whilst playing high demand sports or an accident.
The articular cartilage is often damaged at the time of the ACL tear. If left untreated, it will wear at the knee, causing an increased rate of osteoarthritis development.
Very minor tears (sprains) may heal with conservative treatment involving medications and physiotherapy. But full blown ACL tears may not heal without surgery.
Knee replacement is a surgical procedure to remove and replace the damaged and diseased part of the knee with a prosthetic knee(artificial metal knee). During a total knee replacement, the lower end of the femur(thigh) bone is removed and replaced with a metal shell. The upper end of the Shin bone (tibia) is also removed and replaced with a plastic piece with a metal stem.
The pain post knee replacement surgery is no more arthritic but due to the incision wound healing and swelling. The pain tends to settle in a few days.
Usually this surgery is performed for the people in the age group of 60-80. But it may depend on the intensity of knee pain and disability as well.
Signs and symptoms that accompany knee pain include:
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