Knees provide stability and support to the body. They also allow us to bend and straighten our legs which are necessary to sit, walk, run and crouch. Knees are made up of bones, cartilages, muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
Knee injuries are common among people of all ages, sex, and race. The common knee problems are Osteoarthritis, Cartilage injuries, and ligament injuries.
Types of Knee Problems and Injuries
This is most common knee problem. It causes pain, swelling and reduces motion in your joints it can affect any joint, but the most commonly affected joint is the knees. Osteoarthritis breaks down the cartilage present between the two bone joints; these cartilages absorb shocks from the movements. When there is no cartilage present between the bones it allows it to rub together which causes pain and swelling.
Most commonly, osteoarthritis affects people of 60 years or older, because the cartilages between their bones are less, due to wear and tear compared to younger people. Statistically, every human spends 2% of their life facing osteoarthritis problem.
The main symptom of osteoarthritis is the pain in a particular joint along with stiffness and burning sensation. Some people say the pain increases when the temperature is low; however, there is no substantial evidence to support this claim.
Orthopedics generally prescribes Ibuprofen tablets and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain and burning sensation, but they highly recommend reducing the weight and indulging in exercise to improve cartilage strength. The knee replacement surgeries are recommended when the cartilage is beyond the repairable state.
2. Cartilage Injuries:
Cartilage is a connective tissue which connects two bones in various parts of our body; hyaline cartilage in our knees is the most commonly affected cartilage tissue because it carries almost 65% of our body weight and subjected lot of movement.
Athletes are highly inclined to cartilage injuries because of high mechanical movement sometimes reaching 65 times of body weight.
Cartilage injury symptoms are a pain, swelling, reduced range of movement and tenderness. Specific group cartilage damage is called “osteochondritis dissecans”.
Since most cartilage injuries occur due to high mechanical movement, it can be examined through MRI if the affected person experiences any pain or swelling in that particular area. Exercises and electrical stimulation’s are most common treatments. Keyhole surgeries are recommended for severe injuries.
3. Ligament Injuries:
Ligament is the connective tissue that connects two bones. Ligament injury is the most common knee problem. It occurs due to rotational force across knee. Contact ligament injury occur due to direct blow to medial side, non-contact ligament injury occur due to hypertension and stress.
Feeling like knee is under stress, mild pain in knees, swelling and tenderness across knee, locking and catching when knee is moved, numbness around knee.
X-rays and MRI scans are used to diagnose the ligament tear usually leg brace and icing are used to reduce pain and swelling. When pain and swelling are gone, various physical exercise are recommended to restore the ligament strength and knee movement. Very high ligament tears are treated with open ligament construction called allograft.