The knee is one of the most easily injured joints in your body. It is also subject to degenerative disorders, such as arthritis or osteoporosis. Whether you have a torn ligament or have arthritis, knee pain can be debilitating and frustrating. Knee pain can make it difficult to walk or climb stairs, not to mention hold you back from exercising and playing sports.
At Missoula Bone & Joint, our knee doctors specialize in diagnosing and treating the full spectrum of knee injuries and conditions, and we will do everything in our power to ensure you get back to living your life to the fullest. We offer comprehensive orthopedic services that starts with a thorough evaluation.
About the Knee Joint and Causes of Knee Pain
The knee is a large, complex hinge joint, formed where the thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia) meet, along with the patella, or kneecap. The ends of the bones and back side of the patella are covered with articular cartilage, a smooth, slippery substance that helps the bones move freely. It is held together by four ligaments (ACL, PCL, MCL, LCL) and two tendons (quadriceps and patellar). Two shock-absorbing pieces of cartilage called menisci, located between the femur and tibia, help cushion and stabilize the joint.
Because there are so many components, it is subject to a number of injuries, from fractures and dislocations to torn ligaments or tendons. Some of the most common injuries and conditions are highlighted on our Specialty page.
Arthritis occurs when the articular cartilage begins to wear away. For most people, this is a natural part of aging, but the degenerative process can also be accelerated by injury. Eventually the bones begin to rub together, causing pain and limiting mobility. Schedule a comprehensive initial evaluation of your knee pain with one of our experienced knee joint replacement surgeons and discuss your options for treatment. There are several non-surgical options that can help before you make a decision to replace your knee joint. You will know when the right time is for surgery.
Injuries and Arthroscopy
Knee injuries such as ligament, tendon, or meniscal tears are often caused by sports accidents or during physical activity. Meniscal tears may also occur as a result of arthritis or aging. Fractures and dislocations are typically the result of a fall or blow to the knee, such as during an auto accident, slip and fall, or sports-related contact.
If you have injured your knee, you may experience symptoms such as swelling, pain, and stiffness around the knee, as well as catching, locking, limited movement, weakness, and instability. Many knee conditions and injuries can be treated without surgery. Nonsurgical treatment may include physical therapy, medication, injections, or a brace.
If surgery is needed for these types of injuries, Arthroscopy or Arthroscopic surgery will be performed. Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that allows your surgeon to see the structures inside your joint. Because the instruments are thin, your surgeon can use very small incisions to repair any damage inside the joint. A small camera, called an arthroscope, is inserted into one incision and the surgical instruments are inserted into another incision. The camera displays images on a video monitor which your surgeon uses in real time to guide the surgical repair. With minimal disruption to the surrounding tissue your recovery process is smoother.
Sometimes, however, injuries such as fractures or completely torn ligaments require surgery to fully restore function to your knee. The knee surgeons at MBJ have performed thousands of surgeries and keep up with the latest advances in surgical techniques. Some of the most common procedures we perform can be found on our Specialty page.
For more information we recommend American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website.