Knees and Leg

Knees & Leg

The knee is a hinge joint between the femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (leg bone). It is made more complex by the patella or knee cap which glides over the top of the femur. The end of the femur is round and the top of the tibia is flat. This geometry is not fundamentally stable and injury to the ligaments within the knee can lead to joint instability and poor function. The cartilage and menisci, which serve as cushions between the two bone ends can also be injured and can be painful.

To learn more about painful conditions of the please feel free to visit the links below.
Common Conditions of the Knee:

Total Knee Replacement
If your knee is severely damaged by arthritis or injury, it may be hard for you to perform simple activities, such as walking or climbing stairs. You may even begin to feel pain while you are sitting or lying down. If nonsurgical treatments like medications and using walking supports are no longer helpful, you may want to consider total knee replacement surgery. Joint replacement surgery is a safe and effective procedure to relieve pain, correct leg deformity, and help you resume normal activities.
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Unicompartmental Knee Replacement
Unicompartmental knee replacement is an option for a small percentage of patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. Your doctor may recommend partial knee replacement if your arthritis is confined to a single part (compartment) of your knee. In a unicompartmental knee replacement, only the damaged compartment is replaced with metal and plastic. The healthy cartilage and bone in the rest of the knee is left alone.
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Minimally Invasive Total Knee Replacement
Minimally invasive total knee replacement involves the use of a smaller incision than the one used in traditional knee replacement. In the traditional method, the incision averages 8 to 10 inches in length. In minimally invasive knee surgery, the incision is only 4 to 6 inches long. Because there is less damage to the tissue around the knee, patients who undergo this procedure may expect a shorter hospital stay, a shorter recovery, and a better looking scar.
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Patellar Tendon Tear
The patellar tendon works with the muscles in the front of your thigh – the quadriceps – to straighten your leg. Although anyone can injure the patellar tendon, tears are more common among middle-aged people who play running or jumping sports. A complete tear of the patellar tendon is a disabling injury. It usually requires surgery to regain full knee function.
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Quadriceps Tendon Tear
The quadriceps tendon works with the muscles in the front of your thigh — the quadriceps — to straighten your leg. Although anyone can injure the quadriceps tendon, tears are more common among middle-aged people who play running or jumping sports. A complete tear of the quadriceps tendon is a disabling injury. It usually requires surgery to regain full knee function.
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Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tears
One of the most common knee injuries is an anterior cruciate ligament sprain or tear. Athletes who participate in high demand sports like soccer, football, and basketball are more likely to injure their anterior cruciate ligaments. If you have injured your anterior cruciate ligament, you may require surgery to regain full function of your knee. This will depend on several factors, such as the severity of your injury and your activity level.
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Meniscal Tear
Your knee is the largest joint in your body and one of the most complex. Because you use it so much, it is vulnerable to injury. Because it is made up of so many parts, many different things can go wrong. Meniscal tears are among the most common knee injuries. Athletes, particularly those who play contact sports, are at risk for meniscal tears. However, anyone at any age can tear a meniscus. When people talk about torn cartilage in the knee, they are usually referring to a torn meniscus.
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Distal Femur (Thighbone) Fractures of the Knee
Distal femur fractures most often occur either in older people whose bones are weak, or in younger people who have high energy injuries, such as from a car crash. In both the elderly and the young, the breaks may extend into the knee joint and may shatter the bone into many pieces.
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Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
The posterior cruciate ligament is located in the back of the knee. It is one of several ligaments that connect the femur (thighbone) to the tibia (shinbone). The posterior cruciate ligament keeps the tibia from moving backwards too far. An injury to the posterior cruciate ligament requires a powerful force. A common cause of injury is a bent knee hitting a dashboard in a car accident or a football player falling on a knee that is bent.
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Arthritis of the Knee
There are three basic types of arthritis that may affect the knee joint.
1. Osteoarthritis OA is usually a slowly progressive degenerative disease in which the joint cartilage gradually wears away. It most often affects middle-aged and older people.
2. Rheumatoid Arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory type of arthritis that can destroy the joint cartilage. RA can occur at any age. RA generally affects both knees.
3. Post-traumatic Arthritis:  Post-traumatic arthritis can develop after an injury to the knee. This type of arthritis is similar to osteoarthritis and may develop years after a fracture, ligament injury, or meniscus tear.
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Patellofemoral Arthritis
Arthritis of the knee is a leading cause of disability in the United States. Patellofemoral arthritis affects your kneecap (patella bone). It causes pain in the front of your knee and can make it difficult to kneel and climb stairs.
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Collateral Ligament Injuries
The knee is the largest joint in your body and one of the most complex. It is also vital to movement. Your knee ligaments connect your thighbone to your lower leg bones. Knee ligament sprains or tears are a common sports injury. Athletes who participate in direct contact sports like football or soccer are more likely to injure their collateral ligaments.
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All patient education material from www.AAOS.org