Knee injuries are common, affecting people of all ages and activity levels. While many knee problems can be effectively managed through conservative treatments like rest, physical therapy, and medication, some injuries may require orthopedic surgery to achieve the best possible outcome. Orthopedic surgery can help restore knee function, reduce pain, and improve the patient’s overall quality of life. Here are some common knee injuries that may necessitate orthopedic surgery.
1. Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tear
An ACL tear is a prevalent knee injury, often occurring during sports activities or sudden pivoting movements. Surgical intervention, such as ACL reconstruction, is often recommended to stabilize the knee joint, particularly for active individuals who wish to return to sports or maintain an active lifestyle.
2. Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Tear
Although less common than ACL tears, PCL tears can also benefit from surgical repair, especially when the tear is severe or accompanied by other knee injuries.
3. Meniscus Tear
The meniscus is a wedge-shaped cartilage that cushions and stabilizes the knee joint. When it tears, surgical options such as meniscus repair or meniscectomy may be considered, depending on the type, location, and severity of the tear.
4. Articular Cartilage Damage
Injuries to the articular cartilage, the smooth covering on the ends of the bones in the knee joint, can lead to pain, swelling, and limited mobility. Various surgical techniques, such as microfracture, mosaicplasty, or autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI), aim to repair or replace damaged cartilage and promote joint health.
5. Patellar (Kneecap) Dislocation
A patellar dislocation occurs when the kneecap moves out of its normal position. Severe dislocations may require surgical intervention to stabilize the patella and prevent recurrence.
6. Knee Fractures
Fractures involving the bones around the knee joint, such as the femur, tibia, or patella, often necessitate orthopedic surgery to realign and stabilize the fractured bones.
Severe osteoarthritis that does not respond to conservative treatments may require surgical options like knee arthroscopy, osteotomy, or knee replacement (partial or total) to alleviate pain and restore joint function.
8. Patellar Tendinitis (Jumper’s Knee)
Chronic patellar tendinitis, characterized by inflammation of the patellar tendon, may require surgical intervention when conservative treatments fail to provide relief.
9. Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome
Sometimes, IT band syndrome can be managed with surgery, such as iliotibial band release, when conservative treatments do not resolve persistent symptoms.
10. Multi-Ligament Injuries
Severe knee injuries involving damage to multiple ligaments often require complex surgical reconstruction to restore joint stability and function.
11. Baker’s Cyst Rupture
A Baker’s cyst is a fluid-filled swelling behind the knee. Surgical drainage or removal may be necessary when a cyst ruptures or causes significant pain or complications.
12. Knee Infections or Septic Arthritis
In cases of severe knee infections or septic arthritis, surgical drainage and debridement may be needed in addition to antibiotic therapy.
It is important to note that not all knee injuries automatically require orthopedic surgery. Orthopedic surgeons carefully evaluate each patient’s condition, taking into account factors such as the severity of the injury, the patient’s age, overall health, and activity level, and the potential benefits and risks of surgery. Whenever possible, conservative treatments are explored before surgery is recommended.
Anyone experiencing knee pain, instability, or limited mobility should seek prompt medical evaluation from a qualified orthopedic specialist like Jonathan L. Glashow, MD. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can help prevent the progression of knee injuries and improve the chances of a successful recovery, whether through surgical or non-surgical means. Contact the office of Dr. Glashow in NYC if you have a severe knee injury.