The Knee

The knee is one of the most complex joints. Some knee surgeons say that knee injuries are the most common joint injury. We tend to ignore our knees until something happens to them that causes knee pain.

The knee is essentially made up of four bones. When the knee moves, it doesn’t just bend and straighten. There is also a slight rotation in this motion. The quadriceps and hamstring muscles go across the knee joint. The ligaments are equally important in the knee joint because they hold the joint together. In essence, the bones support the knee and provide the rigid structure of the joint, the muscles move the joint, and the ligaments stabilize the joint.

The knee joint also has a structure made of cartilage, which is called the meniscus or meniscal cartilage. It helps to protect the joint and allows the bones to slide freely on each other. There is also a bursa around the knee joint. A bursa is a little fluid sac that helps the muscles and tendons slide freely as the knee moves.

For the knee to function well, a person needs to have strong, flexible muscles. In addition, the cartilage and ligaments must be smooth and strong. A knee injury occurs when any of these parts of the knee joint are damaged or irritated.

There are a number of options that the knee doctors at Midwest Sports Medicine will us to manage knee problems:
  • personalized knee exercises
  • physical therapy specific to your situation
  • ACL surgery
  • total knee replacement surgery
  • meniscus surgery

When to See a Knee Doctor

When knee pain comes on slowly or when you have performed an activity that is more rigorous that you are used to, it can be handled at home. When knee pain is from a relatively minor injury it can often be safely observed for a few days to see if at-home care home will work.

Long-term knee pain from arthritis is often helped through weight-loss and exercise that strengthens the muscles around the knee joint. At home, self-care options include:
  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation
  • Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Make an appointment with Midwest Sports Medicine if you knee pain was the result of high impact or you have swelling, redness, tenderness and “warmth” around the joint, significant pain and/or fever. If you have had minor knee pain for an extended period of time, make an appointment if it is not getting better to avoid further injury.

When to get immediate attention
  • A joint that looks deformed
  • Can hear a popping noise
  • You cannot walk because of the knee issue
  • Intense pain
  • Sudden swelling

After illness, injury or surgery, it's important to regain strength and get back to work, play, and the little things you enjoy doing every day – whether you’re an elite athlete, a busy mom, or an active senior. It doesn’t matter what you do, if there’s a reason you can’t do it, we’re here to help. Since 1990, Midwest Sports Medicine has grown to become the premier orthopedic group in Northern Illinois. We offer a team of distinguished, experienced board certified and fellowship trained orthopedic surgeons. We also have a board certified podiatrist, and a pain management specialist. All of our physicians are dedicated to meeting or exceeding your expectations.