Your knee is a hinge joint, so called because of the way it bends. However, it also has some rotational movement, which is important for twisting and turning movements in the leg.
The knee joint is formed by the thighbone (femur) and shin bone (tibia). The kneecap (patella) sits in front of the joint.
The knee is a weight-bearing joint and is unfortunately quite prone to damage, through either trauma or disease. Any type of pain and/or stiffness in the knee can reduce movement and affect our ability to weight-bear.
The most common reason for requiring knee surgery is osteoarthritis in the knee joint. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the UK and can affect people all ages. As we age, our joints experience ‘wear and tear’ as we go about our normal movements and activities. Osteoarthritis causes the smooth cartilage lining the end of the bones in the knee to break down more rapidly than normal.
When this happens in your knee, you’ll usually start to notice increased pain and stiffness in the knee. As osteoarthritis progresses in the joint even simple things like sitting down, standing up or walking up and down stairs can become noticeably harder. You may eventually find yourself relying on walking aids to move around safely.
Alternatively, your knee could be damaged by acute trauma. Contact sports in particular, like rugby, can often involve heavy blows to the knee at awkward angles. Other sports like football or squash require rapid twists and turns on a weight-bearing leg. This can generate huge forces in the knee joint. Trauma to the knee may cause a bone fracture or damage to a ligament or meniscus within the joint.
If you have knee pain, whether from trauma, disease or age-related changes, assessment from an experienced Consultant can be of invaluable help.