From sprains and strains to cartilage and ligament tears and arthritis, our knees take a battering throughout our lives.
Knees are frequently injured – especially in sports where there is pivoting or jumping – but more often, knee problems are age-related – caused by wear and tear over time.
It is always advisable to get an early diagnosis and treatment for knee pain, as many conditions can lead to further complications such as arthritis.
Your knee joint is formed by the femur (thigh bone), tibia (shin bone) and the kneecap (patella).
Each bone is coated in smooth, slippery cartilage to help with friction-free movement, and they are cushioned by two rubbery semi circular pads (menisci).
Several tough, fibrous ligaments criss-cross the joint to provide stability, while stretchy tendons enable movement by connecting the bones to muscles. Running through it all is a network of nerves.
Any of these structures can be damaged through impact, twisting or repetitive movement. The most common knee conditions include: sprained or strained ligaments, cartilage tears, tendonitis and arthritis.
Many knee problems can be resolved easily with physiotherapy or injections to reduce pain and inflammation. However, if you don’t get an early diagnosis and rehabilitation, you can end up with more serious issues.
At Capital Orthopaedics, we are dedicated to providing the least invasive pathway to recovery. If surgery is necessary, our expert surgical team will opt for arthroscopic (keyhole) surgery where possible – reducing your recovery time thanks to minimal intervention in your joint.
Some of the most common knee conditions we treat include:
There are two types of cartilage in your knee: articular cartilage coats the surface of your bones, and the meniscus is a rubbery pad providing cushioning. Cartilage can be damaged by a direct impact, through a sudden twisting motion or through a repetitive movement. Damaged cartilage can cause inflammation, stiffness and instability in your knee. It can also lead to osteoarthritis.
Our treatment for cartilage tears begins with physiotherapy to help regain strength and range of motion. We also provide ultrasound-guided injections to reduce inflammation and promote healing. Surgical treatment for articular cartilage damage usually involves smoothing and trimming the roughened surface of cartilage and bone (debridement), using keyhole surgery.
Tears to the rubbery meniscus can be repaired using minimally invasive keyhole (arthroscopic) surgery. More serious damage may mean removing the meniscus completely (meniscectomy). Our physiotherapists provide a post-operative rehabilitation programme to strengthen your knee and help prevent osteoarthritis.
A fracture to any of the bones in your knee joint causes pain, inflammation and limited movement. It can also lead to instability and dislocation or subluxation if the kneecap (patellar) is fractured. We use x-rays to diagnose a knee fracture, along with MRI or ultrasound scans to assess for any soft tissue damage. Conservative treatment includes rest – you may be given a brace while the bone heals, followed by physical therapy. Dislocations and ligament damage can be repaired and restructured with arthroscopic surgery.
The ligaments that connect the bones of your knee joint can be stretched (sprained) or torn, usually as a result of a twisting motion – such as sudden change of direction or pivoting when running. The most commonly injured ligaments are the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). Sprains are diagnosed with an MRI scan, and usually treated with rest and physiotherapy. Severely stretched or torn ligaments can lead to instability and other knee problems, so ligament repair or reconstruction may be necessary. Most knee ligament surgery is carried out arthroscopically – resulting in a quicker recovery time. We offer a rehabilitation programme for all knee ligament injuries.
The tendons in your knee can get inflamed as a result of a twisting, or a repetitive motion such as running or weightlifting. The most commonly injured tendon is the patellar tendon, which attaches to the bottom of your kneecap. Tendinitis causes symptoms of pain, swelling and inhibited range of movement. We diagnose it using an MRI or ultrasound scan, and offer conservative treatment of physiotherapy and injections to reduce inflammation and promote healing. If the tendinitis gives ongoing problems, we carry out keyhole surgery to repair the tendon and any displaced or damaged structures in your knee.
The smooth cartilage surfaces in your knee can get damaged through injury or overuse, creating friction in the joint. This leads to the bone wearing down, and bony lumps (bone spurs) can develop. This causes pain, inflammation, restricted movement and damage to other tissues in the joint. Osteoarthritis can be treated with physiotherapy to help restore strength around your knee and improve range of motion. More advanced arthritis might require arthroscopic surgery to smooth and trim damaged surfaces. In some cases, prosthetic parts may be used to replace deteriorated bone (full or partial joint replacement).
Although it presents with similar symptoms to osteoarthritis, this is in fact an autoimmune condition where your body has an inflammatory reaction in your joints.
This is an infection in your knee joint, and is mostly accompanied by a fever. It is not usually caused by any knee trauma. It can very quickly cause damage to the knee cartilage, so if you suspect septic arthritis, it is important to seek medical help as soon as possible.
Pain in the front of your knee can be caused by a number of the conditions listed above. If you have anterior knee pain that has lasted for at least two weeks and isn’t resolved with rest and anti-inflammatories, the Capital Orthopaedic team will provide a full diagnosis – including physical assessment and scans including x-rays, MRI and ultrasound.
Simon Moyes is an internationally renowned orthopaedic surgeon and leader in the field of arthroscopic (keyhole) surgery. His Capital Orthopaedics team works from The Cromwell Hospital in London, with its state-of-the-art diagnostic and surgical equipment, and top sports medicine professionals.
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Our Capital Orthopaedics team is made up of highly experienced medical professionals – including renowned orthopaedic surgeon Mr Simon Moyes, consultant surgeons, radiologists, nurses, anaesthetists and physiotherapists.
We have the expertise to assess and diagnose your knee problem – offering the best treatment for your particular condition. Our patients include professional sportspeople and dancers, right through to older people with debilitating arthritis. To book an appointment with an Orthopaedic Specialist in London, contact us here or call us on 0207 323 0040.
– ACL injury – damage to the fibrous connective ligament that runs through the centre of your knee joint.
– Fractures – the bones of your knee are most likely to be broken as a result of a very high impact, such as a traffic accident or a fall.
– Torn meniscus – the rubbery shock absorber cartilage can get torn as a result of a sudden twisting motion.
– Knee bursitis – the gel-filled sac (bursa) that helps to cushion your knee gets inflamed, causing pain and stiffness.
– Patellar tendinitis – the tendon that connects to the base of your kneecap gets damaged and inflamed.
Many knee conditions have similar symptoms. These include:
– Limited range of motion
You should consult a doctor if your knee pain:
– Appears suddenly without prior trauma and is accompanied by a fever
– Persists after two weeks of rest
– Returns every time you exercise
In most cases, your doctor will recommend seeing an orthopaedic consultant or sports medicine expert. Getting an early, accurate diagnosis can prevent more serious conditions developing, and improves your chances of conservative treatment and speedy recovery.
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