Our knees have a lot to cope with. Not only do they carry
our full weight, but they have a lot of parts that can get damaged, including
tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bones that can be torn, dislocated, and fractured.
While knee problems can affect almost anyone, you’re more
likely to develop issues if you experience a sporting injury - or have a job
that’s physically demanding. Ageing is also another major cause of knee joint
damage, due to osteoarthritis.
We treat an extensive range of complex knee issues at BMI
The Priory Hospital however these are some of the most common problems.
Tears to the meniscus (the cartilage between the
thigh bone and the shinbone). These injuries are often caused by extreme
rotation or twisting of the knee, resulting in pain, swelling and stiffness. Sufferers
may also feel a locking sensation and have trouble extending the knee.
Treatments range from rest and medication to surgical repair. Many meniscus
tears are degenerate and occur without trauma. These are classified as ‘tears’
in people aged over 35 and are treated with three months of non-surgical
treatment – with surgery becoming an option if things don’t improve.
Damage to the ligaments (ligaments are the bands of
tissue that help to stabilise the knee by holding the bones together). Anterior
cruciate ligament (ACL) damage is a knee injury we see often at BMI The Priory
Hospital. It usually arises from knee trauma that can occur in e.g. a sporting
activity, or from sudden twists, or jolts. Joints may initially be extremely
painful and while the pain may diminish joints may become unstable over time.
In which case surgery may be the best option to get patients back on track as
quickly as possible.
Kneecap problems These can include a dislocated kneecap,
or patellar tendonitis, a condition known as ‘jumper’s knee’. A severely
ruptured tendon can require surgical repair.
Osteoarthritis of the knee Over time the surfaces of
knee joints can wear away either as a result of arthritis or a previous knee
injury causing them to become stiff and inflamed, causing extreme pain. Even simple
things like getting dressed can become difficult, and this can affect quality
of life. While there is no cure for arthritis it can be managed with exercise
and medication, or, in more extreme cases, joints can be replaced to improve mobility
and reduce pain.
Other common knee complaints include bursitis and fractures.
Less common are metabolic problems including gout or infection which can result
in knee pain and swelling.