The knee is one of the body’s many joints and often the target of injury and disease that can lead to pain. While every time that a knee becomes painful doesn’t necessarily require a trip to a knee specialist for relief, some conditions are serious enough to require professional diagnosis and treatment or even surgery. One of the most common injuries that bring people to a knee specialist is a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). This injury is often experienced by athletes who participate in sports that require them to jump and turn quickly such as basketball.
Arthritis is the disease that contributes to more people’s knee pain than any other. It occurs when the cartilage that is inside the knee to add cushioning to the joint becomes worn over time. These two causes of knee pain alone are a large portion of the approximately 1/3 of all visits to the orthopedic doctor but there are several others that can cause mild to severe pain in the knee including:
• Injuries to the knee can result in the breaking off of small chips of bone that remain in the knee-joint. Even tiny pieces of bone can result in immobilizing the joint and causing pain and swelling.
• Bursa are sacs of fluid within the joints that add cushioning to the joint. When they become inflamed from overuse or striking the area or when other conditions exist, bursitis can result. Like arthritis, bursitis can cause swelling and pain.
• The inflammation of the iliotibial band that runs from the hip to the shin can become irritated and causes swelling and pain that is known as iliotibial band syndrome.
• When the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shin is overused, it may become irritated, leading to a condition marked by intermittent pain, the condition is known as Osgood-Schlatter disease. The large majority of individuals who must see a knee specialist for this condition are teens from 13 to 14 years of age.
• Tendons, the strong bands of tissue that connect muscles and bones, can become inflamed and painful when overused. This condition is known as tendonitis.
• Most often caused as the result of a defect in an individual’s leg and not from physical injury, the kneecap can slide out of its normal position, causing it to swell and cause pain from a partially dislocated kneecap. This condition often occurs in girls in their teens.
• The fold of tissue in the joint of the knee known as the iliotibial band can become irritated from different causes, resulting in the inflammation and pain of medial plica syndrome.
A knee specialist is an orthopedic doctor who is trained to treat the musculoskeletal system of the entire body but who has special training in treating injuries and diseases of the knee. Any injury or disease that results in inflammation and/or pain of the knee that is severe or continues or worsens over time should be evaluated by a knee specialist who can provide you with the treatment options to give you pain relief and improve your ability to move the joint more effectively.