Knee pain

The knee joint is the largest, most complex joint in the human body. This strong, weight-bearing joint is where two of the longest bones in the body meet, the thigh bone (femur) and the shin bone (tibia). The kneecap  (patella) and the fibula are the other, smaller bones that make up the knee joint.

The knee’s anatomy comprises of bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles and cartilage and each has its own job. Tendons connect the knee bones to the leg muscles that move the knee joint, ligaments join the knee bones to provide stability to the knee and cartilage acts as a shock absorber.

The main function and design of the knee joint is to support the full weight of the body, allowing us to go about our everyday activities, including walking, running, sitting and standing. Yet, despite being the largest and strongest joint in the body, the knee joint is also the joint most prone to injury and most commonly affected by osteoarthritis. Damage to any structure of the knee will have an impact on the normal movement of the leg.

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Total Knee Replacement Surgery

Joint replacements are now very sophisticated and are routinely carried out in people with advanced arthritis. This common procedure is a long-term solution for a worn-out joint and aims to provide freedom from the pain of osteoarthritis, improved mobility and quality of life.

 

 

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Partial knee replacement surgery

In the early stages of knee arthritis only one side of the knee may become worn out and it may be possible to simply replace only this part of the damaged knee rather than the whole knee. Partial knee replacement surgery can replace either the inside (medial) part, the outside (lateral) part, or the kneecap part of the knee. Partial knee replacement surgery also removes damaged tissue and bone in the knee joint.

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Knee Replacement Surgery (revision)

  • Over time a knee replacement may reach the end of its lifespan and have to be replaced, if it is causing pain or feeling unstable.
  • The length of time a knee replacement lasts varies considerably although for most patients it will last at least 15 to 20 years.  Although if you are overweight or you engage in high-impact activities, the device may fail sooner.
  • A revision procedure is typically more complex than the original knee replacement surgery because the surgeon must remove the original implant, which would have grown into the existing bone and insert a new one, usually with a longer stem to provide a more secure fix in to the bone cavity.  Extra pieces of metal and/or plastic may be used to make up for any removed or badly damaged bone. Therefore the operation takes longer and recovery time is slower following revision surgery.

Knee Arthroscopy Surgery

Introduced in the UK in the mid-1970s, a knee arthroscopy simply means putting a camera into the knee joint and having a look around. Less invasive than open surgery, this procedure can be used to help diagnose or repair a damaged or diseased joint and is otherwise known as ‘keyhole’ surgery.

Nowadays, knee arthroscopy is one of the most commonly performed and most successful orthopaedic operations. This technique allows a surgeon to look for damage within the knee and to treat a number of conditions from simple cartilage tears to removal of loose bodies and anterior cruciate ligament repair.

As a guide only here are some of the more common arthroscopic procedures that can be undertaken in knee arthroscopy surgery:

  • Arthroscopy and trimming of a meniscal tear (partial Meniscectomy)
  • Meniscal Repair
  • Micro fracture
  • ACL repair
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ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) Repair Surgery

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a tough band of tissue joining the thigh bone to the shin bone at the knee joint. It runs diagonally through the inside of the knee and gives the knee joint stability. It also helps to control the back-and-forth movement of the lower leg. If you have damaged, torn or sprained this ligament the knee is likely to be very swollen and painful. It may collapse or feel like it will ‘give way’ when making twisting and turning movements or if you put your weight on it. Some people also report hearing a ‘pop’ when the injury happens. ACL injuries normally happen when you’re playing sports, although sometimes an injury can occur over time or when simply stopping, twisting, landing awkwardly or changing direction suddenly

If the ACL is torn, your knee may become very unstable and lose its full range of movement. This can make it difficult to perform certain movements, such as turning on the spot. Some sports may even be impossible to play.

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PCL (Posterior Cruciate Ligament) Repair Surgery

The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is located at the back of the knee and is one of the knee’s four major ligaments.

Although it is larger and stronger than the ACL, the PCL can still tear or be overstretched causing pain, swelling and knee instability.

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Injection Therapy (Knees)

Millions of people experience osteoarthritis of the knee. It is extremely common and sadly the older we get; the more likely we are to suffer it, which can be incredibly frustrating.

If your knee is painful, swollen or inflamed your doctor may offer you a joint injection.  Knee injections can be very effective as the medication is targeted directly to the problem area and often has fewer side effects than oral medication.

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