Your knee comprises bones, cartilage, ligaments, tendons and muscles. Any injury or damage to these parts causes knee pain, which necessitates you to visit a doctor. Depending on the type of doctor you visit, you might either receive treatment or be referred to an orthopaedic surgeon.
An orthopaedic surgeon is a specialist who diagnoses and treats knee bone, cartilage, ligament, tendon and muscle injuries or disorders. Therefore, if you experience problems with your knee or knees, seek out an orthopaedic doctor or surgeon.
You might injure your knee through motor accidents, sports, missteps or falling from a height and landing incorrectly. This can result in either bone, cartilage, ligament, tendon or muscle injuries. It is up to the orthopaedic surgeon to conduct tests to find out which knee part is injured.
Expect hands-on and visual inspection for swelling, tenderness, bruising, warmth, knee movement limitations and the integrity of the structures in your knee. Orthopaedic surgeons can also request X-rays and ultrasounds for better visualisation.
Your doctor may discover that you have:
- A minor knee injury
- A bone (kneecap) fracture or tendon, ligament or cartilage/meniscus tear
- A dislocated knee
- Injuries to your knee tendons, ligaments or muscles (not a tear)
Knee Injury Treatment
Treatment depends on the part of the knee that is injured and how severe the injury is.
A minor knee injury may require less invasive treatment, like rest, icing and some medication (ointment, injection or oral). Your doctor may brace your knee to prevent movement and insist that you don't put pressure on it. This is achieved through the use of crutches.
Bone fractures and tendon, ligament or cartilage tears may require surgery. Your doctor always gives you the specifics of the surgery, which may include how the surgery is to be conducted, what you are supposed to do to prepare for the surgery and what you can expect during recovery. The reason why this information should come from your doctor is that knee surgery types can differ. Some types of knee surgery include partial or full knee replacement surgery and arthroscopic surgery (helps in knee reconstruction and the removal of loose bodies).
Dislocated knees need to be set back; they may or may not need surgery, which depends on whether the dislocation caused damage to your kneecap, ligaments, tendons and muscles.
A strain on a tendon, ligament or muscle, maybe from turning too quickly during a sport or landing incorrectly from a jump, can also lead to a painful knee.
Visit an orthopaedic surgeon to confirm that the damage is or is not severe enough for surgery and to discuss other knee injury treatment options.