The knee is a complex joint with many elements, which makes it vulnerable to various injuries. Many knee injuries can be effectively treated with simple approaches, such rehabilitation exercises and bracing. Others injuries need surgery to address the issue.
Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven C. Thomas and Dr. Gregory T. Bigler provide procedures for the knee and shoulder to patients in Las Vegas, Nevada as well as Greater Pahrump, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu, Mesquite, NV, and surrounding communities.
The knee represents the largest joint in the body as well as one of the most easily injured. It comprises four main components: bones, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons.
Three bones connect to form the knee joint: the thighbone (femur), shinbone (tibia), and kneecap (patella).
The ends of the tibia and femur, and the back of the patella are covered with articular cartilage. This slippery substance enables the knee bones to glide smoothly across each other as a person bends or straightens their leg.
Two wedge-shaped fragments of meniscal cartilage act as “shock absorbers” between the femur and tibia. Distinct from articular cartilage, the meniscus is hard and rubbery to help stabilize and cushion the joint. People typically refer to torn meniscus when they talk about torn cartilage in the knee.
Bones are linked to other bones by ligaments. The four primary ligaments in the knee act as strong ropes to hold the bones together and keep the knee stable.
Muscles are joined to the bones by tendons. The quadriceps tendon links the muscles in the front of the thigh to the patella. The patellar tendon stretches the patella from the shinbone.
Sudden meniscal tears usually develop during sports. Some activities that can cause tears in the meniscus are pivoting, cutting, twisting, or being tackled. Meniscal tears may also develop due to aging or arthritis. In case the menisci have weakened with age, a mere awkward twist when getting up from a chair may be enough to lead to a tear.
The patellar tendons and quadriceps may become stretched and torn. While anyone can injure these tendons, middle-aged people who play running or jumping sports are more susceptible to these injuries. Direct force to the front of the knee, falling, and landing awkwardly from a jump are some common reasons for knee tendon injuries.
Simple measures are used to treat many knee injuries, such as:
- Immobilization: The doctor may ask the patient to wear a brace to prevent the knee from moving. In case the patient has fractured a bone, a brace or a cast may hold the bones in position as they heal. The patient may also be given crutches to prevent them from putting weight on their leg.
- Physical therapy: Certain exercises will restore knee function and strengthen the leg muscles that support it.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines: Medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin reduce pain and inflammation.
Many injuries and fractures around the knee necessitate surgery to fully restore leg function. Sometimes, surgery can be undertaken arthroscopically using miniature tools and tiny incisions, such as in the case of many ACL tears. Some injuries require open surgery with a larger incision that offers the surgeon a more direct view and greater access to injured structures.
Board certified orthopedic surgeons at the Thomas and Bigler Knee & Shoulder Institute receive patients from Las Vegas, Nevada as well as Greater Pahrump, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu, Mesquite, NV, and nearby areas for knee and shoulder procedures.
If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about the Knee and Shoulder Institute procedures & treatments performed by Las Vegas, Nevada board-certified surgeons Steven C. Thomas, MD and Gregory T. Bigler, MD. Contact the office today click here.
Serving patients from and around greater Las Vegas, Lake Havasu, Bullhead City, Mesquite, Pahrump, Nevada.