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MEDICAL CONDITIONS OF THE KNEE

KNEE CONDITIONS
AT GUSTAVEL ORTHOPEDICS

Each year, over 11 million Americans go to the doctor for knee pain. The knee is the most operated on joint by orthopedic surgeons.

The knee is a synovial joint that connects the femur to the tibia. It is also a hinge joint meaning that it primarily moves in flexion and extension. It does have some rotational component but it is minimal. The knee is supported by meniscal cartilages, ligaments, tendons, and muscles to help keep it stable. The knee is at a high risk of injury due to the amount of stress that we constantly put on them. The key to maintaining a healthy knee and preventing injury is to better understand the joint, be aware of some common conditions and their symptoms and learn how to recognize when to see a physician.

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CONDITIONS OF THE MENISCUS

There are two disk shaped structures in the knee that serve as “shock absorbers”. They help to stabilize the knee and help with load transmission. The medial meniscus lies on the inside of the knee and the lateral meniscus lies on the outside of the knee. The medial meniscus is less mobile and more susceptible to injury. It is often associated with an ACL tear. The lateral meniscus is more mobile and less prone to tear.

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ANTERIOR CRUCIATE LIGAMENT TEARS

There are four ligaments in the knee that help hold the bones of the knee joint in position and prevent it from moving in an undesired direction. The collateral ligaments support the knee medially and laterally. The cruciate ligaments stabilize the knee anteriorly and posteriorly. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) prevents the knee from gliding anteriorly.

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PATELLOFEMORAL PAIN

Pain in the front of the knee (often called “runner’s knee” or “jumper’s knee”) is also known as patellofemoral pain. It is caused by abnormal mechanics of the kneecap gliding in the femoral trochlea. It can occur in both athletes and non-athletes.

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OSTEOCHONDRAL INJURIES

The ends of the bony surfaces of our joints are lined with articular cartilage. This applies to the knee as well. An injury to this type of cartilage and the underlying bone is called an osteochondral injury.

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OSTEOARTHRITIS

Progressive wear and tear of the articular surfaces of the knee leads to osteoarthritis. It can occur in the medial compartment, lateral compartment, patellofemoral compartment or a combination of the multiple compartments. As the articular cartilage breaks down, the underlying bone can become exposed.

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LATERAL COLLATERAL LIGAMENT TEARS

The lateral collateral ligament (LCL) is the thin band of tissue in the outer side of the knee connecting the femur in the thigh to the fibula in the calf. It contributes to the stabilization of the knee and controls the side-to-side motion relating to quick turns and stops in motion.

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MEDIAL COLLATERAL LIGAMENT TEARS

The medial collateral ligament is a long band of connective tissue that runs along the inside of your knee. It is used to anchor your shin and thigh bones together and stabilize them during movement. If the outside edge of an athlete's knee takes a strong enough impact, the thin band of tissue that comprises the MCL can stretch to the point of severe strain or even breakage.

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