The knee joint consists of the femur, the tibia, the fibula and the patella (knee cap) surrounded by ligaments and joint capsules. The medical and lateral collateral ligament, along with the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments, work in unison to stabilise and provide integrity to the knee joint. Between the femur and tibia, two cartilage beds known as the medial meniscus and lateral meniscus provide a cushion between the joint giving it the ability to glide along each other. Surrounding the joint there are bursae, which are fluid-filled sacs that help reduce the friction between tendons and ligaments.
Knee pain can be the result of an injury to any of the above parts. Some common injuries are:
- Meniscus Tears (膝關節半月板軟骨撕裂) occur during sharp, rapid movements when the knee suffers a strong rotational force between the joint. The force may cause each individual meniscus to have more than one tear. Some common symptoms for a meniscus tear may be a “popping” sensation during certain actions, swelling and warmth, and locking of the knee joint. Arthroscopic repair of the meniscus have been highly successful with options to remove the torn parts or suture the tear. Recovery rates are normally quite fast, with elite athletes going back to their respect sports weeks after the surgery.
- Ligament Tears (韌帶撕裂) can occur to any of the four ligaments of the knee joint. Injuries tend to be sudden and followed with immediate pain. Damage to the collateral ligaments found on the outer (lateral collateral ligament) and inner (medial collateral ligament) areas of the knee, is normally associated with burning and soreness sensations. Cruciate ligaments injuries occur deep within the knee joint, are associated with a “snapping” sound at the onset. As with all injuries depending on the severity of the tear, the treatments can range from ice and immobilization to open surgery to repair severe injuries. However with the advancements of arthroscopic surgery, the ability to avoid the greater risk of open surgery is greatly increased. Through arthroscopic surgery of a ligament tear, reconstruction procedures such as suturing, and grafting can be done with much success.
- Arthritis of the Knee (膝關節炎) can be separated by two categories, noninflammatory such as osteoarthritis, or inflammatory such as rheumatoid arthritis. For noninflammatory arthritis, viscosupplement can drastically reduce the pain, and hopefully eliminate the need for surgery. However in many cases arthritis progressively worsens and the possibility of a total knee replacement surgery may be warranted. Depending on numerous factors, our doctors will decide the best solution for each patients’ case. Inflammatory arthritis is normally associated with other underlying problems, such as gout and rheumatoid arthritis, and treatment should be provided accordingly.
- Cartilage Injury or lesion (軟骨損傷), such as chondromalacia (softening of the cartilage under the patella), is a common problem of knee pain for extended office workers who spend a majority of time sitting. Normally the best treatment is to work with a physiotherapist to strengthen the surrounding muscles causing less strain on the cartilage. Cartilage injury tend to vary in nature and severity, therefore a dynamic physical examination by a doctor would best diagnose the problem.
- Knee Tendinitis (膝關節肌腱炎) occurs when there is inflammation of the popliteal tendon or patellar tendon, at the back of the knee or the front below the kneecap respectively. Normally adequate rest in concurrence with anti-inflammatory medications is effective. However, a rupture of the tendon will require surgical intervention. In some inflammation cases, patients feel extreme pain, or want to aid the healing process, a type of treatment known as platelet-rich plasma injection has been proven to be effective. We have an in-house centrifuge allowing this treatment option to be performed.
With various diagnosis and treatment for knee pain, it is well worthwhile to visit one of our doctors for a concise diagnosis.