A Closer Look at How the Knee Works (And What Can Go Wrong)

A Closer Look at How the Knee Works (And What Can Go Wrong)

We skin and scrape them, use them to walk, run, and kneel, and love at first sight is supposed to make them weak. We’re talking about your knees.

The knees are designed in a fascinating way, but they’re also vulnerable to a wide range of problems.

Dr. Struan Coleman treats many types of painful knee conditions and repairs them with great expertise when things go wrong, due to wear-and-tear or injury. When you visit him with knee pain, he carefully evaluates you and learns all he can about how your pain developed before creating a treatment plan for you. 

Dr. Coleman and his able team offer many services that free his patients from pain and restore their mobility, but it’s often his knowledge of the workings of your knee that guide him to just the right treatment for you. 

Your knee: Possibly your hardest working joint?

There are plenty of interesting facts about your knees. Your knee is the largest joint in your body, and a pretty complicated one at that. It connects your femur (the thigh bone) to your tibia (shin bone). Other bones that comprise your knee joint are the fibula, situated next to the tibia, and the patella, or the kneecap. 

Knee movement is enabled by tendons (connective tissue connecting muscle to bone), and ligaments (connective tissue that connects bone to bone). Both hold your knee bones together and offer overall stability. 

Your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), medial collateral ligaments (MCL), and lateral collateral ligament (LCL) are all stabilizers that hold your bones in position. 

A pair of C-shaped sections of cartilage — the lateral and medial menisci — serve as shock absorbers between your femur and tibia. Your medial meniscus is on the inside of your knee, while your lateral meniscus is outside of it. Cartilage also helps your bones slide easily against each other as they move. 

The bones of your knee are united by a joint capsule with two layers. The outer layer is dense connective tissue, and the synovium, or inner membrane, produces lubricating fluid for your knee joint. 

The muscle groups that support your knee are your hamstrings, located on the back of your thigh. They start at your hip and extend to right under your knee and help you bend your knee. Your quadriceps are four muscles at the front of your thigh that also start at your hip, end at your knee, and allow you to straighten your knee. 

These knee’s amazingly designed mechanics mean you can:

Unfortunately, the complex workings of your knee also make it prone to all kinds of problems and injuries.

What can go wrong with your knee

Movement and aging are the two causes of the inevitable knee problems we all face at some point. Osteoarthritis develops in the knees as we age because cartilage simply wears away, your bones begin to rub together, and pain, swelling, stiffness, and limited movement follow. 

Everyday activities, like walking, running, cleaning, and gardening can also lead to a host of knee injuries, as can athletic activities: 

These are just a handful of knee complications, but there are treatments and surgical solutions that Dr. Coleman offers which bring relief from your symptoms.

Knee treatments abound

When Dr. Coleman analyzes your knee problem, he may use imaging tests as a diagnostic aid, as well as learn about your previous medical history and what activities you routinely engage in. 

Fortunately, Dr. Coleman offers a range of noninvasive and surgical options to remedy your knee pain: 

If Dr. Coleman recommends surgery, knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure used to repair many knee injuries. 

Unlike open surgery, Dr. Coleman makes a few small incisions and inserts an arthroscope through one of them, which is a narrow, flexible tube that has a small camera on one end. It directs real-time video to a monitor he uses as he performs surgery with specially designed tools. 

Minimally invasive surgery is linked to better outcomes, including faster recovery and reduced pain, bleeding, and scarring.

Knee replacement is also performed this way, for patients whose knee deterioration calls for new artificial knee components.

If you're suffering from knee pain and limited mobility, schedule a consultation with Dr. Coleman. Call whichever office is most convenient to you, or reach out to us through our website.

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