A healthy knee allows you to run, walk, or participate in sporting activities. Injury, overuse, aging and degenerative disorders, such as arthritis, can affect your knees.
The knee is a hinge joint, formed where the thighbone and shinbone meet. A healthy knee bends easily. The joint absorbs stress and glides smoothly because the joint is covered with slippery tissue and powered by large muscles. When the knee is damaged, the joint may lose its ability to cushion the impact from even small activity. Some of the more common symptoms patients may experience are:
- Sharp or continual pain in the knee joint, even at rest
- Catching, or locking, of the knee
- Limited range of motion
- Pain associated with motion of the knee
- Instability of the knee
The information below highlights some of the most common procedures our surgeons perform.
The knee has four basic ligaments holding it in place, one at each side to stop the bones from sliding sideways and two crossing over in the middle to stop the bones from sliding forward and backward. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the one in the front. If damaged, it may cause knee pain while walking, running, or bending down.
Depending on your situation and diagnosis, ACL reconstruction surgery can be performed arthroscopically. When possible, minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery is preferred by surgeons for ACL reconstruction because traditional techniques tend to produce loss of motion after the recovery period. Arthroscopically-aided ACL reconstruction is successful in the vast majority of patients and can be performed on an outpatient basis.
Stabilizing the knee can return it to a full range of motion and strength nearly equal to that of the other leg. Arthroscopy also allows for less invasive and more predictable reconstruction. With arthroscopic techniques patients tend to experience less pain, disability and stiffness.
Total Knee Replacement Surgery
Total knee replacement is a surgical procedure in which all of a diseased knee joint is removed and replaced with an artificial device (prosthesis). A prosthetic knee is not the same as a healthy body joint, but it does work well. The knee prosthesis is shaped to fit over the ends of bones and is secured to the thighbone (femur), kneecap (patella) and shinbone (tibia).
The type of surgery you have and your doctor’s recommendations will determine how soon you can begin moving and walking again after surgery. If you had arthroscopic surgery, you may go home in a few hours after surgery, but you will need to arrange to have someone drive you home because the pain medications and anesthesia are likely to make you sleepy.
Physical therapy is an extremely important part of the success of knee surgery and your full participation is necessary to achieve an optimal outcome. Some degree of pain, discomfort, and stiffness can be expected during the early days of physical therapy. You will start walking using a walker and/or crutches, depending on the type of surgery you had.
A number of home exercises are given to strengthen the leg muscles. The medical staff and therapist will teach you proper movements and exercises to do so that your knee is protected and heals properly. Sit and move the way you were taught by the physical therapist. Return to activity slowly. Practice walking a little every day and soon you’ll be able to walk without assistance. Don’t be surprised if you feel a little stiff at first; it may take a few months for a complete recovery. It is very important to keep all your scheduled follow-up visits with your surgeon.