Injury to the knee can occur while playing sports, during work, or as the result of a car accident or a fall. Sometimes an injury can occur while doing something simple, such as twisting or squatting down to pick something up. Knee injuries include any kind of trauma that affects the knee joint or the surrounding tissues. Even if a knee injury doesn’t seem serious, it’s important to know when an evaluation by a medical professional is warranted. Putting off seeking treatment can sometimes lead to a lengthy recovery or more complications down the road.
At Reflex Knee Specialists, our medical team is dedicated to helping each patient recover from knee injuries with personalized treatment plans and innovative therapies. With locations in Oregon, Washington, and Arizona, we offer a wide range of non-surgical treatment options for knee injuries. Learn more about common knee injuries, how they’re diagnosed, and available treatment options.
The knee is the body’s largest joint and is made up of bones, cartilage, tendons, menisci, and ligaments. Common knee injuries include:
The ACL is a commonly-injured ligament inside the joint that helps to stabilize the knee. This type of knee injury often happens while playing sports. Quickly changing directions or landing incorrectly from a jump can damage or tear the ACL.
The MCL is the ligament that stabilizes the inside (medial) aspect of the knee joint. MCL injuries are often caused by a direct hit to the side of the knee. Patients who play contact sports are at higher risk of tearing or straining this ligament.
The LCL is located on the outside (lateral) part of the knee joint. While LCL injuries are less common than ACL or MCL tears, they can have similar symptoms. LCL sprains or tears can happen during contact sports, like football.
Commonly known as runner’s knee, this is an injury related to running or other activities that involve repetitive flexion and extension of the knee. It can be caused by tight or weak muscles, improper form, or excessive strain on the knee joint. A patient may also develop patellofemoral pain syndrome if they previously had knee surgery.
This condition develops when the patellar tendon, which connects the kneecap (patella) to the shinbone (tibia), becomes inflamed. It often develops as a repetitive stress injury. Repeated jumping and sprinting motions can cause this type of tendinitis.
The meniscus is a donut-shaped piece of cartilage that serves as a shock-absorbing cushion between the thigh bone (femur) and the shin bone (tibia). It helps stabilize the knee and dissipates load forces across the joint. If a person quickly pivots or forcefully twists at the knee, they may tear their meniscus.
Symptoms will vary by injury type but generally include pain, swelling, and tenderness around the knee joint. Sometimes a loud pop is heard, especially with an ACL or meniscus tear. Ligament tears or a torn meniscus might result in:
Patients with runner’s knee often find their knee pain worsens if they sit for extended periods, while patients with patellar tendinitis often have pain when bending or straightening the affected leg.
Knee injuries are diagnosed with a physical examination, along with reviewing the following information with the patient:
When being evaluated by a provider at Reflex Knee Specialists, a diagnostic ultrasound will be performed to assess the injury and identify the specific source of pain.
Treatment options will depend on a variety of factors, including the patient’s age, lifestyle, and type of injury. The providers at Reflex Knee Specialists may recommend treatments that include:
Resting the joint and avoiding strenuous activity can help it heal.
A knee brace can take some weight off the injured area and help stabilize the joint.
A physical therapist can offer specialized, knee-focused rehabilitation. They can also recommend knee rehabilitation exercises that the patient can continue using after their course of physical therapy is complete.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy takes a sample of the patient’s blood and concentrates it to isolate the platelets (blood cells that help with healing) and plasma (the liquid portion of blood). The PRP is then injected into the knee joint to help reduce pain and accelerate recovery from the injury.
Joint fluid therapy, or viscosupplementation, is an injection of hyaluronic acid that helps lubricate the knee joint and reduce pain and inflammation.
Ozone joint therapy is another type of injection treatment often used in combination with PRP therapy or viscosupplementation. Ozone gas is injected into the knee joint with ultrasound guidance to help mitigate pain and swelling.
If conservative treatment options are not effective at providing long-term relief, a patient may need additional imaging, such as an MRI, to provide more information about the injury. Most knee injuries do not require surgery, and should be considered a last resort after conservative treatments have been exhausted.
A knee injury should not keep patients from normal activities. Any patient who has experienced a knee injury should consider making an appointment with someone who specializes in knee injuries. It is especially important to see a doctor if a knee injury has resulted in:
H2: Have Your Knee Injury Evaluated by a Provider at Reflex Knee Specialists
Patients who have suffered a knee injury that resulted in swelling, persistent pain, or instability should seek treatment immediately. Early intervention can reduce the risk of further complications and long-term loss of mobility. At Reflex Knee Specialists, our team of providers has extensive experience in non-surgical treatment options for a wide range of knee injuries, including, tendon and ligament strains or a torn meniscus. We also treat chronic conditions like osteoarthritis and tendinitis. Reflex Knee Specialists has locations in Portland, Oregon; Bellevue, Washington; and Tempe, Arizona. To make an appointment and begin the process of addressing your knee injury, call us at 503-719-6783 or contact us today.