Knee Pain and Injuries

Your knee is made up of two main bones, the thigh bone, or femur, and lower leg bone, or tibia. These bones are held together by four main ligaments: the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), lateral collateral ligament (LCL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL). The meniscus is the rubbery cartilage that sits between these bones. When you step down, the meniscus acts as a shock absorber between the thigh bone, or femur, and the leg bone, or tibia. The bones come together to form a joint. It is at this joint that the bones move over one another to allow you to move about and move your body. At this joint the bones are lined with a hard substance called cartilage.

The patella is a disk shaped bone in the front of your knee. Your patella is attached to your tibia bone by a tendon called the patellar tendon. The kneecap also attaches to the quadriceps muscles which are the large muscles in the front of your thigh. The patellar tendon, quadriceps, and other soft tissue surround the patella in what we call a soft tissue envelope. Normally this soft tissue envelope is well balanced and strong allowing your knee to function without pain.

Normally your patella rides smoothly in a groove at the end of your thigh bone, or femur, when you bend and straighten your knee. The vastus medialis obliquus, or VMO, is important in maintaining this normal patellar movement and allowing balance of the soft tissue envelope around the patella. The movement of the patella in this groove at the end of the femur is called patellar tracking.

The largest joint in the body, the knee is also one of the easiest to injure. Knee problems can be caused by trauma, particularly from sports; physiologic issues like misalignment; degeneration from conditions like osteoarthritis; or just plain overuse. To learn about some of the most common knee injuries and conditions, view the videos, below.

Treatment Options

Knee braces, sometimes known as knee orthoses, are supports worn on the knees, typically to provide joint stability and correct maladjustments. Braces can be made of metals, fabric and plastic. Braces are part of a treatment program that should be administered by a licensed medical professional.

Knee braces are divided into categories depending on the type of support they provide: ligament, functional, adjustable range-of-motion, OA, post-op and soft supports.

To find out more about knee braces, go to Breg Knee Braces.

If you and your doctor have decided surgery is the best treatment for you, your options may include arthroscopic surgery to repair joint damage, partial knee replacement surgery to replace only the damaged portion of your knee, or total knee replacement surgery. To learn about more about these and other surgical procedures, view the videos, below.

Other non-surgical options to help manage knee problems and joint instability include cold therapy ranging from simple ice packs to motorized cold therapy (an insulated cooler with a pump and pads that deliver cold to specific joints), your doctor may suggest using cold therapy to reduce pain and swelling of an injured joint. All cold therapy, including ice, can be cold enough to damage your skin, so regardless of what kind of cold therapy you use, follow your doctor’s instructions.

Learn more about Cold Therapy

Exercises for Joint Rehabilitation: Your doctor may recommend exercises to help enhance your recovery. This may include exercises for stretching to gradually increase range of motion, strengthening to regain joint function and proprioception to help with balance and core stability.

Learn more about rehabilitation exercises