Your knee is a hinge joint, due to the way it bends. It also has a small amount of rotational movement, which helps as we twist or turn our leg. The joint is formed by the thigh-bone (femur) and shin-bone (tibia). Your kneecap (patella) sits in front of the joint.
As the knee is a weight-bearing joint, it’s unfortunately quite prone to damage, either through injury or disease. This can cause pain and stiffness in the knee, affecting movement and the ability to weight-bear.
Many people need surgery because of osteoarthritis in their knee joint. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the UK and can affect all ages. Over time, our joints experience natural ‘wear and tear’ as we go about our normal everyday 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 start to notice normal everyday movements and activities becoming painful and more challenging. Even simple things like sitting down, standing up or walking up and down stairs can become noticeably harder. As osteoarthritis progresses, you may be unable to safely weight-bear, only able to move around with the help of a walking aid.
Alternatively, your knee may be damaged by an injury. Contact sports like rugby often involve heavy blows to the knee. Rapid twisting and turning on your foot during a game of squash or football can generate huge forces in the knee joint. Any of these may cause a bone fracture or damage to a ligament or meniscus within the joint.
If your knee is causing you pain, either due to trauma, disease or age-related changes, an experienced Consultant Knee Surgeon can be an invaluable help.