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A knee joint is made up of a thigh bone (femur), leg bone (tibia) and the patella (kneecap. Sandwiched between the thigh and leg bone are two cushions (the menisci) and 4 ropes (ligaments) that keep the bones together. Also the bony surfaces are covered by a 1 cm thick polish called cartilage that prevents friction between the bones when they glide over each other. The knee is a joint that is critical for walking and therefore taking care of its health is critical to lead a mobile lifestyle. Knee pain is a very common condition that affects the young and elderly alike. However, the causes may vary in both. It is important to identify that there is a problem and get timely treatment for the same. Pain in the knee can be broadly due to age-related causes (degenerative) or injury related (trauma).
Dr Vikram Mhaskar, Consultant - Knee & Shoulder Surgery, Max Multi Speciality Centre, Panchsheel Park, lists down below 5 reasons that could aggravate the knee problems.
1. Age-related problems start gradually as a little niggle in the knee that progresses over time, with an occasional feeling of the knee getting stuck. The pain may be confined to one part of the knee, or in the knee as a whole. Often it is associated with swelling in the knee that occurs due to friction when the cartilage (polish) gets rubbed off. Treatment may vary from just medication and removal of fluid from the knee to surgery depends on the severity of the problem.
2. Injury-related pain may come from the bones, cartilage, ligaments or cushions. Such pains are preceded by an injury to the knee like twisting, fall, road traffic accident.
3. Fractures or bony injuries are very painful and prevent you from keeping the limb on the ground or even move it. They are usually accompanied by swelling and deformity in the bone. Fractures are well visualized on an X-ray more often than not and require either plaster application or a surgery to fix them.
4. Ligament injuries accompany most commonly sporting injuries or fall from a two-wheeler. They are accompanied by pain and swelling initially and later on after few weeks may cause a feeling of not being stable on the knees and the feeling that it would twist again. These injuries do not show up on an X-ray and need an MRI. Certain ligaments heal up well themselves and some don’t. Treatment largely depends on the activity profile of the patient, ligament/ligaments torn and if any associated injuries are present. Largely these surgeries are done by keyhole (arthroscopic) technique and you are likely to be discharged on the same day as your operation.
5. Cartilage/Meniscus injuries can happen in isolation or with ligament injuries with similar injury mechanisms. These injuries cause pain and a feeling of locking, which is a sudden inability to straighten the knee completely. Treatment for meniscus injuries is by keyhole technique (arthroscopic) that involves repairing/removing a part of it. Timely attention by a knee specialist is the key to success in addressing knee pain, and at Max Panchsheel we have a specialised Orthopaedic doctors team for every joint in the body.