Many patients around the world suffer from knee osteoarthritis (OA). In fact, knee osteoarthritis accounts for 80 percent of all cases of osteoarthritis; almost 20 percent of American adults over age 45 have some form of the disease. Over time, repeated mechanical loads cause stress on the knees, and the joint tissues degrade over time. The condition is linked to both age and obesity. The condition is very painful. Stage 0 OA classifies as having no signs of the disease, meaning a patient has a healthy knee. Stage 4 is the most severe stage, characterized by considerable cartilage breakdown with chronic inflammation; this is the classic and very painful bone-on-bone friction.
Contrary to popular belief, knee fractures are quite common, with patellar fractures topping the list. The patella is the knee cap, and fractures often result from trauma such as falls or auto accidents. Very often, the ends of the thigh bone (femur) and lower leg bone (tibia) are also fractured along with the patella.
Knee dislocations are very common, particularly with sports injuries. When the knee bones are either partially or fully out of place, such as the femur and tibia being misaligned, a knee dislocation occurs. Dislocations are typically caused by trauma like falls or auto accidents, but can sometimes occur if a person does not have a normal knee structure. If you have frequent knee dislocations, come see us for an x-ray and evaluation.
Lots of patients have heard of knee ligament injuries, particularly as they relate to sports. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a common football or soccer injury caused by rapidly changing directions or incorrect jumping posture that tears the ligament. The injury not only tears the ACL, but damage to the meniscus and cartilage usually accompanies the injury.
Other ligaments like the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) can also be damaged. PCL injuries typically occur when there is a high impact on the front of the knee while the knee is bent. Again, sports injuries and auto accidents are the biggest culprits. Collateral ligament injuries can also occur when forces push the knee sideways. Injuries to the medial collateral ligament (MCL) can occur with contact to the inside of the knee which pushes the knee outwards sideways.
The meniscus is the lining between the ends of the two long bones (femur and tibia) that connect at the knee joint. Again, these tears usually happen during sports when the athlete is tackling, twisting, or pivoting. However, these tears can also result from aging and arthritis where the meniscus has become weakened. Even simple motions, such as twisting the knee when rising from a chair, can cause the injury. Tendon tears like tears in the tendons that connect the thigh quadriceps muscle or the patellar tendons in the knee can result from falls or other direct forces on the knee.
If you have or suspect you might have one of these injuries, our team is standing by ready to help you with your knee injury, so give Mid Atlantic Orthopedic Associates a call today!
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