Most people have had a minor knee problem at one time or another. Most of the time our body movements do not cause problems, but it’s not surprising that symptoms develop from everyday wear and tear, overuse, or injury. Knee problems and injuries most often occur during sports or recreational activities, work-related tasks, or home projects.

The knee is the largest joint in the body. The upper and lower bones of the knee are separated by two discs (menisci). The upper leg bone (femur) and the lower leg bones (tibia and fibula) are connected by ligaments, tendons, and muscles. The surface of the bones inside the knee joint is covered by articular cartilage, which absorbs shock and provides a smooth, gliding surface for joint movement. See a picture of the structures of the knee.


Knee Cartilage Tears

Other injuries, including tears, can take place in the cartilage of the knee. Cartilage is a semi-hard (tough, but flexible) tissue that covers the end of your bones. Knee cartilage comprises the two menisci on either side of the joint: the medial meniscus, located on the inside of the knee and the lateral meniscus, positioned on the outside of the knee. You’ve probably heard the phrase “meniscus tear”. A tear in the knee cartilage is a common injury, and typically requires surgery.


  • Knee Ligament Injuries

    The ligaments are what connect your thigh bone to your lower leg bones. They hold your bones together and keep the knee stable. Knee ligament sprains and tears are very common sports injuries, and can occur to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), and medial collateral ligament (MCL). Any of these injuries can result in severe knee pain and could require surgery.


    • Arthritis of the Knee

      Arthritis is a common cause of severe knee pain and disability. Unfortunately, arthritis is a chronic degenerative condition that can eventually require surgery. The three most common types of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, and osteoarthritis. In the case of any of these three, you may experience stiffness and swelling, and it may be hard to bend your knee.


  • Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Knee

    Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes the tissue around the joint to become inflamed and thickened. Chronic inflammation often leads to damage and loss of cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis represents only about 10 percent to 15 percent of all arthritis cases.


    • Post-Traumatic Arthritis

      Post-traumatic arthritis can result after a serious knee injury, including bone fractures and ligament tears. These injuries can damage the cartilage in your knee over time and lead to pain, swelling, and stiffness.


      • Osteoarthritis of the Knee

        The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is a progressive wearing of the cartilage in the knee joint. It occurs more frequently in individuals 50 and older. After 50, the impact of osteoarthritis can worsen due to accumulated use and the wearing down of cartilage that occurs with age. Osteoarthritis of the kneecauses pain, limited range of motion, stiffness of the knee, swelling of the joint, tenderness, deformity and weakness.

        Causes of osteoarthritis include age, weight, genetics, previous injuries, infections, and illness (such as a tumor or gout). Osteoarthritis can also be caused by sports injuries and wear and tear resulting from physical work in occupations, such as construction and manufacturing.

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