Composed of bone, ligament, cartilage, and even fluid, the knee joint is one of the most complicated joints in the human body. It is also the largest joint, and it is known as a compound joint – meaning that the tibia and femur are connected in one section, and the femur and patella in the other.
Common Knee Disorders
There are a lot of things that can go wrong with the knee – and unfortunately, a lot of things do. Let’s have a look at some of the most common reasons why patients see a doctor for a knee problem.
Osteoarthritis (which is often called simply “arthritis”) is one of the most common disorders affecting the knee joint. Also known as degenerative arthritis, this condition can affect people of all ages, young and old – though the risk is heightened with age.
Women tend to develop the condition more often than men of the same age, although the reason is unclear. Hereditary is also a factor, as people who have knee arthritis in their family history are more likely to develop it.
The knee bears a significant amount of weight, and wear-and-tear on the joint occurs as we walk, run, and turn. The most common reason why people develop osteoarthritis is that frequent use and pressure eventually breaks down the protective cartilage within the joint.
When the natural cartilage cushioning wears away, the result is bone-on-bone rubbing and scraping every time you move your knee. Symptoms include pain, stiffness, swelling, and overall discomfort in the knee joint. Over time, bone spurs can also develop, which can cause further pain.
More commonly known as the kneecap, the patella is the bone that is situated at the front of the knee. It is a small bone that protects the knee joint, and it is where the femur and tibia (thighbone and shinbone) meet.
A fall or traumatic injury that causes a direct hit to the patella can result in fracture. Depending on the amount of force, it might even result in a shattered kneecap.
An orthopedic specialist will determine the proper treatment following diagnosis of the fracture.
Because the knee joint is responsible for sudden stops, turns, and pivots of the leg, dislocation of the knee is a common disorder. A dislocated knee occurs when the bones within the knee are displaced. In other words, the bones slip out of the joint and out of their proper alignment.
This can be a result of abnormal knee structure, but it can also occur as a result of a serious trauma – sometimes related to a sports injury or a car accident. If the patella moves beyond the pocket in which it is situated, it will cause pain and discomfort.
If your knee has a habit of buckling or “catching,” it may be susceptible to dislocation. See an orthopedist for advice on how to avoid what could otherwise be inevitable.
Sports Physicals Help Prevent Knee Injuries
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the ankle is the most commonly injured site on the human body, but the knee is the second most commonly injured. The knee joint is also the leading cause of sports-related surgeries.
This underscores the importance of sports physicals prior to engaging in intense physical activities. Athletes should see an orthopedist prior to their sports season in order to ensure that there are no abnormalities or pre-existing conditions. If so, these issues may not only hinder performance, but also endanger the athlete.
Orthopedic Surgeons in Texas
If you have a knee injury or arthritis, see an orthopedist right away before the pain gets worse. Your sports medicine specialists and musculoskeletal physicians in the Plano and Addison areas are ready to see you right here at Tarpon Orthopedics.
For more information or to schedule a consultation, call us today at (972) 596-1059 or fill out our online appointment request form. We look forward to helping you get back in the game again.