One of the downsides of being active is that you’re at a greater risk for injury, or for developing a chronic condition.
Knee pain is incredibly common, but it’s not inevitable. If you have any knee pain, you should get checked out by an expert who can help you understand the cause of your pain as well as what you should or shouldn’t do.
At Orthocenter, our highly skilled providers see many patients who have knee pain. Whether your pain is due to an ACL tear, a meniscus injury, arthritis, or something else, we can give you guidance on dealing with the pain and evaluate what, if any, treatment can help.
Common knee problems
Your knee is both the largest and one of the most complex joints in your body. If you consider just how much pressure your knees endure, you’ll probably be surprised you haven’t had more knee problems.
One of the most common knee issues we see is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that results from overuse or simply from wear-and-tear.
How many millions of steps have you taken in your life? How many times have you bent and straightened your knees to sit or stand? How much time have you spent standing, with your knees supporting your body weight?
All of that use can eventually take a toll on your knees. If you have osteoarthritis, the cartilage that cushions your knee joints begins to wear out and break down. Your knees may feel stiff and swollen, and your range of motion can lessen. You might feel like your knees lock into place sometimes.
Although there’s no cure for osteoarthritis, there are ways to slow the progression of the disease. The earlier you begin treatment, the longer it takes for your joint to degenerate, so don’t ignore that pain!
If your arthritis is so advanced that those treatments don’t work, you may regain your mobility with a joint replacement.
You have two thick, rubbery pieces of cartilage inside your knee that work as shock absorbers between your shin bone and your thigh bone — you can imagine how important they are if you think about what happens when you jump. Those shock absorbers are your menisci.
As you get older, they become weaker. You may slightly twist your knee and get small tears that don’t always cause problems right away, but over time they may become problematic.
Your anterior cruciate ligaments (ACLs) in your knees give you stability and hold everything in your joint in place. Your ACL is on the inside of your knee and keeps your shin bone from moving in front of your thigh bone.
ACL tears usually happen when you turn or stop suddenly, slow down as you’re running, or don’t land right when you jump. They can also happen if you experience direct trauma to your knee, as in a fall.
As you get older, your ACL gets weaker, so traumatic injuries are more likely. Tears can range in severity but should be treated.
If you’re experiencing knee pain, whether you’ve had an injury or not, your best course is to get it looked at by an expert. If it’s osteoarthritis, we can help you get started with treatments to slow the disease.
Meniscus tears require rest to heal, but if you don’t know what’s causing your pain, you may not realize you need to rest. ACL tears need to be treated too, or you risk making them much worse!
Don’t take risks with your knees. Schedule your appointment by phone or here on the website today at one of the convenient locations of Orthocenter in Red Bank, Morganville, and Holmdel, New Jersey.