By Drew Heideman, MPT, ATC, PES
Common Knee Injuries and Surgeries
Though the knee is a very simple hinged joint, it is considered one of the most important joints when discussing human function. Furthermore, an injury to the knee can be devastating to a person and their activities of daily living. Also, common injuries that occur at the knee joint involve:
- sprains or ruptures of the ligaments
- tears of the medial or lateral meniscus
- patella tendon strains/ruptures
- patella-femoral pain
- patella or knee cap fracture
- fractures of the boney structures
Surgeries are widely used when the stability of the knee is compromised due to a rupture of the ligaments, for example the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). In addition, surgeons will replace the damaged ligament with a graft that may be used from the hamstring, patella tendon, or even from cadavers in order to create a taught ligament and reproduce stability in the knee.
Patella Fractures or Knee Cap Fractures
Patella or Knee Cap fractures can also occur in sports and auto accidents. Falling directly on the knee, direct contact with the patella or your knee hitting the dashboard in an accident can fracture the patella or knee cap. A patellar fracture can be displaced or non-displaced which can be determined by x-ray. Depending on the fracture, these can heal with immobilization and non-weight bearing through the joint with the use of crutches or other devices. Some patella fractures may require surgical intervention.
Also, meniscectomies are common if a patient has damaged cartilage which creates pain and instability. In addition, the orthopedic will remove the torn portion of the meniscus using an arthroscopic procedure. Total or Partial Knee Arthroplasty are typically for patients with degenerative or arthritic knees that develop over long periods of time. Prosthetic replicas of the tibia, femur, knee cap, and articular cartilage replace damaged anatomy.
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