6 Ways to Ruin Your Knees

Article featured on WebMD

Whether you’re a seasoned athlete, a weekend warrior, or totally laid-back when it comes to exercise, knowing how to protect your knees from damage can mean the difference between a fulfilling lifestyle and longterm, strained mobility.Cruising on the track in the heat of a roller derby match, 27-year-old Rachel Piplica was not at all prepared for the realization that her knee could sideline her from competitive skating for months, possibly years.

“Suddenly, I heard a pop and it felt like my knee bent sideways. The pain was so bad I just fell and crawled away,” Piplica tells WebMD.

The Los Angeles fashion designer who skates under the name Iron Maiven tried to keep going. “I took one more stride and my knee just let go again. The doctor immediately said, ‘I think you tore your ACL.'”

Piplica had experienced some warning signs during her previous season of skating as captain of her team, but she ignored them for the most part. “I had tremendous pain in my leg anytime I’d squat down so I just kept my right leg straight. But I never saw a doctor for it. I just assumed, ‘I’m in a contact sport and this is what happens,’” she tells WebMD.

Knee deep: A complex and vulnerable joint

Her torn ACL diagnosis confirmed, Piplica quickly learned how susceptible the knees can be to injury. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, these joints are responsible for sending nearly 15 million Americans to the doctor every year.

And it’s not just athletes who suffer. Knee problems can happen to anyone.

“Because they’re the main hinge between the ground and the rest of your body, the knees serve as your ‘wheels’ that get you around and allow you to be active,” says University of Pennsylvania orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist Nicholas DiNubile, MD. “Life can really go downhill when you damage your knees,” says DiNubile, who is a spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and author of FrameWork – Your 7-Step Program for Healthy Muscles, Bones and Joints.

Bound by an intricate system of ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and muscle, the knee is highly prone to injury. It’s a complex hinge where the femur (thigh bone), tibia (shin bone), fibula (next to tibia) and kneecap all come together.

“It’s hard to find the right balance between mobility and stability; the knee needs to move back and forth, twist a little, and pivot too,” DiNubile says. The knee’s ligaments can tear, its tendons can swell up, osteoarthritis can take hold, and even everyday wear and tear can ruin a perfectly good set of knees.Here are six pitfalls you can avoid to save your knees.

1. Ignoring knee pain.

An occasional ache here and there is common. “But knowing when you can and can’t ignore pain is key,” says sports medicine specialist Jordan Metzl, MD, from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

Metzl’s rule of thumb: When the pain limits your ability to do what you normally do, you need to have it checked out.

“If your body is sending you signals, you need to listen to them. If they persist, you need to have it checked out,” he tells WebMD.

For Piplica, exploratory surgery revealed a torn meniscus she had endured in the past — unbeknownst to her — followed by the more recent ACL tear.

“In hindsight, maybe that first injury could have been repaired earlier, although I don’t know if I could have avoided this one altogether,” she says. “At least I would have been more careful.”

2. Being overweight.

Every pound of body weight yields five pounds of force on the knee, so even 10 extra pounds can put a considerable load on those joints.

Being overweight also increases your chances of osteoarthritis in the knee, a common and often disabling form of arthritis that wears away the knee’s cushiony cartilage. Excess pounds also cause existing arthritis to worsen more rapidly. According to the CDC, two out of three obese adults suffer from knee osteoarthritis at some time in their life.

Although diet and exercise are critical for weight loss, it’s a double-edged sword.

“If your knees hurt, it’s harder to lose weight through exercise,” says Metzl. So he recommends activities that go easy on the knee.

For example, opt for a stationary bike over running on the treadmill, and walk on a flat surface instead of hilly turf. If you’re a die-hard treadmill fan, then go for longer sessions of walking punched with brief intervals of brisk walking or running every three to five minutes, DiNubile says.

3. Not following through with rehab and rest.

The rest and rehabilitation period after a knee injury is critical to avoiding future pain or reinjury. Depending on the type of damage and treatment, recovery could last anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months.

“During the rehab period, you need someone to help you tell the difference between something that just hurts, and something that’s going to do you harm,” says DiNubile.He tells WebMD that many of his young athlete patients are too eager to return to regular play as soon as they stop limping. He advises patients to work with an orthopedic surgeon, a sports medicine physician, a physical therapist, an athletic trainer, or some combination of these pros, in order to ensure proper focus is placed on gradually strengthening the knees.

4. Neglecting your ACL.

One of the most commonly injured ligaments in the knee, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is responsible for about 150,000 injuries in the U.S. every year.

As Piplica learned firsthand, sports like roller derby that involve quick cuts, twists, and jumping, put the ACL at higher risk for rupturing. More traditional high-risk sports include soccer, basketball, football, and volleyball.Women in particular have a two- to eight-times higher risk for ACL tears compared to men, mainly because the way women naturally jump, land, and turn puts greater strain on the ACL.

However, male and female athletes alike can be trained to “rewire” themselves and thus lower risks of knee injury. That’s done through neuromuscular training, which involves supervised practice in improving agility, leg strength, and jump-landing techniques for better knee joint stability.

These specialized techniques are effective in reducing risks of knee injury by almost one-half, according to a 2010 review of seven neuromuscular training studies.

“Given what we know in how useful it can be in reducing ACL tears, it’s irresponsible of coaches and parents to not require athletes to undergo neuromuscular training,” says DiNubile.

He recommends that athletes of any age who play ACL risk-prone sports should seek help from an athletic trainer or other trained professional to help avoid this debilitating injury.

5. Overdoing it.

“You make gains in fitness when you work hard and then allow your body to recover. You can’t do a hard workout every day,” Metzl says.

A sudden increase in intensity or duration of exercise can cause overuse injuries from repetitive strain. Tendonitis and kneecap pain are common symptoms in the knee.Pushing too hard is also related to overtraining syndrome, a physiological and psychological condition among athletes in which they exceed their ability to perform and recover from physical exertion, often leading to injury or lowered performance.

Be sure to include stretching exercises before and after working out. And follow hard training days with easy ones so your body can recover.

6. Overlooking other muscles around the knees.

Weak muscles and lack of flexibility are primary causes of knee injuries. When the muscles around the kneecap, hip, and pelvis are strong, it keeps the knee stable and balanced, providing support by absorbing some of the stress exerted on the joint.DiNubile stresses the importance of building the quadriceps and hamstring muscles, as well as proper strengthening of the body’s core muscles, including the obliques, lower back muscles, and upper thigh.

His favorite tool to help accomplish this strengthening is a Swiss medicine ball. Other exercises to try are knee extensions, hamstring curls, leg presses, and flexibility exercises.Piplica recalls realizing just how weak some of her leg muscles were.

“Roller girls are striding out so much with their outer leg muscles, but we aren’t necessarily working our inner knees,” she says. “I remember when I would run for exercise, my calves and shins would hurt so bad. That surprised me, because I thought if anything was strong, it was my legs.”

Piplica says she wishes she had been better educated about crosstraining activities for roller skaters, and what muscle groups they need to focus on to keep their knees healthy.

As she awaits surgery to repair her torn ACL, Piplica tells WebMD that her perspective on long-term care for her knees has definitely changed.

“Half of me is frustrated about not being able to skate sooner, but the other half knows how important it is to get better so I don’t do this again. I’m 27 years old with a serious knee injury preventing me from moving around. So I need to look beyond just skating, skating, skating. I don’t want to have knee problems when I’m 40 or 50 because I’m not giving my body the kind of attention it needs right now.”


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Walking Towards Healthier Knees

Article featured on ScienceDaily

A new study published today in Arthritis & Rheumatology led by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine reveals that walking for exercise can reduce new frequent knee pain among people age 50 and older diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis. Additionally, findings from the study indicate that walking for exercise may be an effective treatment to slow the damage that occurs within the joint.

“Until this finding, there has been a lack of credible treatments that provide benefit for both limiting damage and pain in osteoarthritis,” said Dr. Grace Hsiao-Wei Lo, assistant professor of immunology, allergy and rheumatology at Baylor, chief of rheumatology at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center and first author of the paper.

The researchers examined the results of the Osteoarthritis Initiative, a multiyear observational study where participants self-reported the amount of time and frequency they walked for exercise. Participants who reported 10 or more instances of exercise from the age of 50 years or later were classified as “walkers” and those who reported less were classified as “non-walkers.”

Those who reported walking for exercise had 40% decreased odds of new frequent knee pain compared to non-walkers.

“These findings are particularly useful for people who have radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis but don’t have pain every day in their knees,” said Lo, who also is an investigator at the Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness, and Safety at Baylor and the VA. “This study supports the possibility that walking for exercise can help to prevent the onset of daily knee pain. It might also slow down the worsening of damage inside the joint from osteoarthritis.”

Lo said that walking for exercise has added health benefits such as improved cardiovascular health and decreased risk of obesity, diabetes and some cancers, the driving reasons for the Center for Disease Control recommendations on physical activity, first published in 2008 and updated in 2018. Walking for exercise is a free activity with minimal side effects, unlike medications, which often come with a substantial price tag and possibility of side effects.

“People diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis should walk for exercise, particularly if they do not have daily knee pain,” advises Lo. “If you already have daily knee pain, there still might be a benefit, especially if you have the kind of arthritis where your knees are bow-legged.”


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink, and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Osteoarthritis and Runner’s Knee Can Both “Bring You to Your Knees”

Article featured on Noyes Knee Institute
Pain in the knee area is a common issue among athletes. However, anyone can experience knee pain. It is vital to get proper treatment to get rid of the pain. More importantly, you should seek to understand the issue before considering treatment or scheduling a knee surgeon.

Will I Need a Knee Surgeon for Runner’s Knee?

A proper diagnosis from an orthopedic doctor is essential if your knee aches whenever you get from a chair or while walking, jogging, and running. You may also or experience a  constant dull ache around the knee area. Osteoarthritis (OA) and runner’s knee and are common causes of knee aches.
Injury, disease, and extra strain on the knees may also result in more sharp pain. You won’t necessarily need surgery to relieve knee pain or correct the underlying issue. The doctor will perform various tests and scans to determine what’s causing the pain.

How’s Runner’s Knee Different from Osteoarthritis?

Runner’s knee is medically referred to as patellofemoral syndrome and is basically pain experienced around your kneecap area. It occurs when you overuse your knees. Running, training, jogging, squatting, and climbing may exert excess stress on your kneecap.
If the kneecap isn’t moving properly in its groove, it may wear out the protective cartilage that prevents bones from rubbing on each other. Runner’s knee symptoms include a dull pain/ache in the kneecap area, especially after sitting for extended periods or when walking, running, and jumping.
Osteoarthritis is another form of knee pain among adults 50 years and older. It simply refers to knee joint arthritis. OA pain results from bones rubbing against each other when the cartilage begins to wear out, which is similar to what happens with runner’s knee.
Common symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain that gets worse over time, stiffness, warmth, swelling, redness, and difficulty maneuvering (bending/straightening) the knee. Arthritis pain may feel worse when you wake up or during bad weather. OA and the runner’s knee have many overlapping symptoms.

How Can I Relieve Runner’s Knee and Osteoarthritis?

It is essential to seek medical advice if you experience any pain around your knee area. Runner’s knee is common among track athletes, while osteoarthritis is widespread among older people of all levels of physical activity. However, both conditions can certainly happen to people of all ages.
Your orthopedic doctor will assess the pain and determine the right treatment option. Each case is unique, so pain stemming from injuries, such as falls, will require different treatment from cases of knee overuse. Below are the vital steps in relieving all types of knee pain:

  • Get Diagnosis – You should consult an orthopedic doctor for a comprehensive diagnosis of the issue to determine the underlying cause and scale of damage.
  • Discuss Treatment – The doctor will discuss different remedies available for your case. Common options include therapy, medication, injections. Surgery may be required in severe cases.
  • Ongoing Recovery – Your doctor will recommend various practices, including physical therapy, pain relievers, lifestyle changes, etc.

Advanced Knee Treatment in Cincinnati

Both runner’s knee and osteoarthritis can cause severe pain and require prompt addressing. Without proper treatment, the condition may get worse, calling for advanced procedures and longer recoveries. As such, you should seek professional advice as soon as you notice the pain.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.
New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.
Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.
If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

What Kind of Injuries Cause Knee Pain?

Article featured on Noyes Knee Institute 
Are you someone that has been dealing with knee pain that affects you daily? Conditions like these can affect people at any time and age. Thankfully, you can benefit from the expertise of an orthopedic knee surgeon, no matter what your situation is.
Today, we’ll discuss some common injuries that can cause knee pain. We’ll also talk about when you should see a doctor to address this.

Meniscus Tears

When people talk about torn knee cartilages, they’re likely talking about a meniscal tear. The menisci are two pieces of cartilage that cover the end of your bones. They can either tear suddenly during sports events or slowly due to aging.
When the meniscus tears due to aging, medical experts refer to it as a degenerative tear. As for sudden tears, you may experience or hear a pop in the knee. Once the injury occurs, you may witness higher levels of pain over the next few days.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries

The ACL ligament runs diagonally down the front of the knee and provides stability to your joints. Injuries that occur in the ACL can be serious and even require surgery. ACL injuries can range from a Grade 1 mild sprain to a Grade 3 total tear.
ACL tears can occur as a result of these movements that occur in sports or non-sport events.

  • Awkward jumps and landing
  • Colliding with others
  • Quick direction shifts
  • Sudden starts and stops

Any ACL or other ligament injury can result in serious knee pain that may indicate the need for surgery.

Post Traumatic Arthritis (PTA) In The Knee

PTA is a form of arthritis that occurs as a result of serious knee injuries. Injuries such as broken bones or ligament tears can wear down your joint surface. That, in return, can also lead to arthritis as time goes by.
These injuries can lead to damage to your knee cartilages as you age and lead to pain, stiffness, and swelling. If you experience these symptoms, contact your orthopedic knee surgeon to discuss the right pain relief options for you.

Tendon Issues

Tendon injuries, such as tendonitis or tendon tears, commonly occur in athletes or mid-age people that participate in physical activities. Tendons are soft tissues that connect the knee cap to the shinbones. The most common tendon that receives injury is the patellar tendon. This tendon works with the front of the thigh so that a person can run and jump.
Tendonitis is also known as jumper’s knee since this condition is common amongst athletes who jump often. Other types of physically active people can develop this as well.
As for more serious tendon injuries, direct impact from hits or falls can cause a tendon tear. This can lead to severe knee pain, which can require treatment or even surgery.

When Should I See An Orthopedic Knee Surgeon?

It may be time to see an ortho doctor if you’re dealing with these conditions resulting from knee area injuries.

  • Bone injury
  • Chronic pain
  • Muscle injury

Not only do they provide you with unique solutions to treat your condition, but they’ll also give you preventative advice.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.
New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.
Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.
If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Swollen Knee Causes and Treatments

Article featured on the Mayo Clinic

Overview

A swollen knee occurs when excess fluid accumulates in or around your knee joint. Your doctor might refer to this condition as an effusion (ih-FYU-zhen) in your knee joint. Some people call this condition “water on the knee.”
A swollen knee may be the result of trauma, overuse injuries, or an underlying disease or condition. To determine the cause of the swelling, your doctor might need to obtain a sample of the fluid to test for infection, disease or injury.
Removing some of the fluid also helps reduce the pain and stiffness associated with the swelling. Once your doctor determines the underlying cause of your swollen knee, appropriate treatment can begin.
Symptoms
Signs and symptoms typically include:

  • Swelling. The skin around your kneecap can puff up noticeably, especially when you compare the affected knee to the normal one.
  • Stiffness. When your knee joint contains excess fluid, you might not be able to bend or straighten your leg completely.
  • Pain. Depending on the cause of the fluid buildup, the knee might be very painful — to the point that it’s difficult or impossible to bear weight on it.

When to see a doctor

See your doctor if:

  • Self-care measures or prescribed medications don’t relieve the pain and swelling
  • One knee becomes red and feels warm to the touch compared to your other knee

Causes

Many types of problems, ranging from traumatic injuries to diseases and other conditions, can cause a swollen knee.

Injuries

Damage to any part of your knee can cause excess joint fluid to accumulate. Injuries that can cause fluid buildup in and around the knee joint include:

  • Torn ligament, particularly the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
  • Cartilage (meniscus) tear
  • Irritation from overuse
  • Broken bones

Diseases and conditions

Underlying diseases and conditions that can produce fluid buildup in and around the knee joint include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Infection
  • Gout
  • Pseudogout
  • Bursitis
  • Cysts
  • Tumors

Risk factors

  • Age. Your likelihood of developing a swollen knee related to arthritis increases as you age.
  • Sports. People who participate in sports that involve twisting the knee, such as basketball, are more likely to experience the types of knee injuries that cause swelling.
  • Obesity. Excess weight puts added stress on the knee joint, contributing to the tissue and joint overload and knee degeneration that can lead to a swollen knee. Obesity increases your risk of osteoarthritis, one of the more frequent causes of knee swelling.

Complications

Complications of a swollen knee can include:

  • Muscle loss. Fluid in the knee can harm the working of your muscles and cause thigh muscles to weaken and atrophy.
  • Fluid-filled sac (Baker’s cyst). The buildup of fluid in your knee can lead to the formation of a Baker’s cyst in the back of your knee. A swollen Baker’s cyst can be painful, but usually improves with icing and compression. If the swelling is severe, you might need to have fluid removed (cyst aspiration).

Prevention

A swollen knee is typically the result of an injury or chronic health condition. To manage your overall health and prevent injuries:

  • Strengthen the muscles around your knee. Strong muscles around a joint can help ease pressure on the joint itself.
  • Choose low-impact exercise. Certain activities, such as water aerobics and swimming, don’t place continuous weight-bearing stress on your knee joints.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight contributes to the wear-and-tear damage that can lead to a swollen knee.

New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.
New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.
Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.
If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Why Does My Knee Pop?

Article featured on Cone Health Medical Group
Have you ever bent down to pick up something and heard a loud pop or crack coming from your knees? This sound is called “crepitus,” which is defined as “joint noise.” Popping knees are not unusual. It happens when carbon dioxide builds up in the joint’s synovial fluid and is released as a gas bubble that bursts when the joint adjusts rapidly. It is the same process that causes knuckles to crack.
Most of the time, this noise should cause no concern. There has been a rumor circulating for years that popping joints are a sign of impending arthritis, but there has been no research that supports this.
Some folks may hear a grinding noise in the knee when they squat. This is another form of crepitus and is typically nothing to be concerned about. The sound is caused by the cartilage rubbing on the joint surface and other soft tissue when the knee moves.
Most people experience crepitus their entire lives with no problems.

What if it hurts when my joints pop or grind?

You should be concerned if you have joint noise that is accompanied by pain, discomfort or swelling. This could be a sign that medical attention is required. Two of the most common cause for knee pain are:

  1. Cartilage injury or wear. The underside of your kneecap can unevenly rub on the front of your femur (thigh bone) and cause the cartilage under your kneecap to soften and wear off. Once the cartilage wears off, it hangs around the joint and can irritate the surrounding area. This irritation can result in pain when squatting, climbing stairs or even sitting for an extended period.
  2. Meniscus tear. The rubbery disc that cushions your knee and absorbs shock is called the meniscus. It can tear when there is an unexpected twist or turn in the joint, usually when the knee moves and the foot stays stationary. With aging comes greater risk of a meniscus tear, even through everyday activities.

What are the treatment options for knee injuries?

  • Rest – Stay off your knee as much as possible.
  • R.I.C.E. – Rest, ice, compression and elevation will promote healing and reduce swelling.
  • Knee Brace – There are many kinds, so it is best to consult your care provider for advice.
  • Physical therapy – A physical therapist can help you learn techniques and exercises to strengthen your knee and allow it time to heal.
  • Surgery – Minimally invasive surgery, especially for meniscus tears, can repair the tear and clear out any tissue causing pain, swelling and irritation.  

To help protect the knees, try exercises that develop the quadriceps, which are the muscles in the front of the thigh. Exercises that benefit this muscle group are walking, cycling and swimming. Other effective ways of protecting the knees are wearing supportive shoes, warming up before and stretching after exercise, and maintaining a healthy body weight.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.
New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.
Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.
If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

What a torn meniscus means

Article featured on Mayoclinic.

Overview

A torn meniscus is one of the most common knee injuries. Any activity that causes you to forcefully twist or rotate your knee, especially when putting your full weight on it, can lead to a torn meniscus.
Each of your knees has two C-shaped pieces of cartilage that act like a cushion between your shinbone and your thighbone (menisci). A torn meniscus causes pain, swelling and stiffness. You also might feel a block to knee motion and have trouble extending your knee fully.
Conservative treatment — such as rest, ice and medication — is sometimes enough to relieve the pain of a torn meniscus and give the injury time to heal on its own. In other cases, however, a torn meniscus requires surgical repair.

Symptoms

If you’ve torn your meniscus, you might have the following signs and symptoms in your knee:

  • A popping sensation
  • Swelling or stiffness
  • Pain, especially when twisting or rotating your knee
  • Difficulty straightening your knee fully
  • Feeling as though your knee is locked in place when you try to move it
  • Feeling of your knee giving way

When to see a doctor

Contact your doctor if your knee is painful or swollen, or if you can’t move your knee in the usual ways.

Causes

A torn meniscus can result from any activity that causes you to forcefully twist or rotate your knee, such as aggressive pivoting or sudden stops and turns. Even kneeling, deep squatting or lifting something heavy can sometimes lead to a torn meniscus.
In older adults, degenerative changes of the knee can contribute to a torn meniscus with little or no trauma.

Risk factors

Performing activities that involve aggressive twisting and pivoting of the knee puts you at risk of a torn meniscus. The risk is particularly high for athletes — especially those who participate in contact sports, such as football, or activities that involve pivoting, such as tennis or basketball.
Wear and tear on your knees as you age increases the risk of a torn meniscus. So does obesity.

Complications

A torn meniscus can lead to a feeling of your knee giving way, inability to move your knee normally or persistent knee pain. You might be more likely to develop osteoarthritis in the injured knee.

Diagnosis

A torn meniscus often can be identified during a physical exam. Your doctor might move your knee and leg into different positions, watch you walk and ask you to squat to help pinpoint the cause of your signs and symptoms.

Imaging tests

  • X-rays. Because a torn meniscus is made of cartilage, it won’t show up on X-rays. But X-rays can help rule out other problems with the knee that cause similar symptoms.
  • MRI. This uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to produce detailed images of both hard and soft tissues within your knee. It’s the best imaging study to detect a torn meniscus.

Arthroscopy

In some cases, your doctor might use an instrument known as an arthroscope to examine the inside of your knee. The arthroscope is inserted through a tiny incision near your knee.
The device contains a light and a small camera, which transmits an enlarged image of the inside of your knee onto a monitor. If necessary, surgical instruments can be inserted through the arthroscope or through additional small incisions in your knee to trim or repair the tear.

Treatment

Initial treatment

Treatment for a torn meniscus often begins conservatively, depending on the type, size and location of your tear.
Tears associated with arthritis often improve over time with treatment of the arthritis, so surgery usually isn’t indicated. Many other tears that aren’t associated with locking or a block to knee motion will become less painful over time, so they also don’t require surgery.
Your doctor might recommend:

  • Rest. Avoid activities that aggravate your knee pain, especially any activity that causes you to twist, rotate or pivot your knee. If your pain is severe, using crutches can take pressure off your knee and promote healing.
  • Ice. Ice can reduce knee pain and swelling. Use a cold pack, a bag of frozen vegetables or a towel filled with ice cubes for about 15 minutes at a time, keeping your knee elevated. Do this every four to six hours the first day or two, and then as often as needed.
  • Medication. Over-the-counter pain relievers also can help ease knee pain.

Therapy

Physical therapy can help you strengthen the muscles around your knee and in your legs to help stabilize and support the knee joint.

Surgery

If your knee remains painful despite rehabilitative therapy or if your knee locks, your doctor might recommend surgery. It’s sometimes possible to repair a torn meniscus, especially in children and young adults.
If the tear can’t be repaired, the meniscus might be surgically trimmed, possibly through tiny incisions using an arthroscope. After surgery, you will need to do exercises to increase and maintain knee strength and stability.
If you have advanced, degenerative arthritis, your doctor might recommend a knee replacement. For younger people who have signs and symptoms after surgery but no advanced arthritis, a meniscus transplant might be appropriate. The surgery involves transplanting a meniscus from a cadaver.

Lifestyle and home remedies

Avoid activities that aggravate your knee pain — especially sports that involve pivoting or twisting your knee — until the pain disappears. Ice and over-the-counter pain relievers can be helpful.

Preparing for your appointment

The pain and disability associated with a torn meniscus prompt many people to seek emergency care. Others make an appointment with their family doctors. Depending upon the severity of your injury, you might be referred to a doctor specializing in sports medicine or a specialist in bone and joint surgery (orthopedic surgeon).

What you can do

Before an appointment, be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • When did the injury occur?
  • What were you doing at the time?
  • Did you hear a loud “pop” or feel a “popping” sensation?
  • Was there much swelling afterward?
  • Have you injured your knee before?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • Do specific movements seem to improve or worsen your symptoms?
  • Does your knee ever “lock” or feel blocked when you’re trying to move it?
  • Do you ever feel that your knee is unstable or unable to support your weight?

New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.
New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.
Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.
If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Preventing Future Patellofemoral Pain

Article from UCSF Health
To decrease the risk of patellofemoral pain returning after surgical kneecap realignment, doctors generally recommend that you make the stretching and strengthening exercises you learned in rehabilitation part of your everyday routine.
Proper rehab will help your new kneecap attachments heal in a normal position and keep it moving smoothly in its track. To prevent rupturing your new kneecap attachments while they heal, avoid bending your knee more than 90 degrees. Try to be patient in rehab and do not rush to return to activities.
Many of the popular fitness exercises and activities put stress on your knees. To prevent patellofemoral pain it is important to learn knee-sparing exercise techniques. This can be done by dividing your activities into three components:

Daily Living

The average person takes between 12,000 and 15,000 steps a day, exerting a force between two and five times his or her body weight on the knees. After a knee injury, take it easy on your knees during the day whenever possible to save them for activities and exercise. Avoid stairs when there is an elevator, take the shortest path when walking, and consider wearing athletic shoes designed to absorb shock rather than hard-soled shoes.

Muscle Strengthening and Conditioning

Activities themselves are not a substitute for conditioning, and your need for special conditioning to prepare for activities increases with age. The best strengthening programs are low-impact and non-weight-bearing, like stationary bikes and certain weightlifting programs, which do not require the knees to absorb shock.

Recreation

Sports that require twisting and quick-direction changes put great strain on your knee. Any climbing or jumping activity where the knee is bent beyond 90 degrees puts undue pressure on the cartilage surfaces under the kneecap. To prevent injury, stick to light, non-impact activities for your recreation. If you decide to return to sports like football and basketball, a doctor should carefully examine your kneecap and test it for proper alignment.
If you plan on participating in sports, remember to take it easy during daily activities and to keep your kneecap tracking properly with stretching and strengthening exercises. Your doctor may prescribe a brace to wear during recreational activities, which will help keep your kneecap in track.
A small amount of pain is normal during physical activity, but if you feel so much pain in your knee to warrant taking a painkiller before an activity, you should consider cutting back or discontinuing that activity.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.
New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.
Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.
If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Do I Need Surgery for a Meniscus Tear?

Article on WebMD, medically reviewed by Tyler Wheeler, MD on May 16, 2019
You have two C-shaped discs of cartilage (soft tissue) that connect your thigh bone to your shinbone. These are called menisci. They’re like shock absorbers for your bones. They also help to keep your knee stable.Athletes who play contact sports like football and hockey are prone to meniscus tears. But you can also get this injury when you kneel, squat, or lift something heavy. The risk of injury increases as you get older, when bones and tissues around the knee begin to wear down.
If you tear your meniscus, your leg might swell and feel stiff. You might feel pain when twisting your knee, or be unable to straighten your leg fully.

What Are My Treatment Options?

Treatment for a meniscus tear will depend on its size, what kind it is, and where it’s located within the cartilage. Most likely, your doctor will recommend that you rest, use pain relievers, and apply ice to you knee to keep the swelling down. They may also suggest physical therapy. This will help to strengthen the muscles around your knee and keep it stable.
If these treatments don’t work — or if your injury is severe — they might recommend surgery. To be sure, your doctor will probably have an MRI done. And they might look at the tear with an arthroscope. That’s a thin tool that has a camera and light at the end. It allows doctors to see inside your joints.
If your doctor’s exam shows your meniscus tear is mild (Grade 1 or 2), you may not need surgery. If it’s Grade 3, you probably will. Your doctor might choose to do any of the following:

  • Arthroscopic repair. Your doctor will make small cuts in your knee. They’ll insert an arthroscope to get a good look at the tear. Then they’ll place small devices that look like darts along the tear to stitch it up. Your body will absorb these over time.
  • Arthroscopic partial meniscectomy. Your doctor will remove a piece of the torn meniscus so your knee can function normally.
  • Arthroscopic total meniscectomy. During this procedure, your doctor will remove the whole meniscus.

Meniscus repair is low-risk. Complications are rare. They may include injury to skin nerves, infections, and knee stiffness. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to help stave off infection. They may also recommend compression stockings to help prevent blood clots.

How Long Is Recovery?

You may have to wear a brace or cast to keep your knee stable. You’ll likely also have to use crutches for at least a month to keep weight off your knee.
Your doctor may recommend physical therapy as part of your recovery. It’ll help increase your range of motion and help your knee get stronger. They may also share some exercises you can do at home.
If you have a partial or total meniscectomy, you can expect your recovery to take about a month. If your meniscus was repaired, it may take as long as 3 months.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.
New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.
Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.
If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

12 Tips for Walking When You Have Sensitive Knees

Sensitive knees can be a challenge for walking, but it is a recommended way to maintain your function and reduce your symptoms. If you have knee pain due to osteoarthritis or other causes, you don’t have to let that keep you from starting a walking program.

A regular program of walking can reduce stiffness and inflammation and it won’t make most chronic knee conditions worse. Walking is the preferred exercise by people with arthritis, and can help you improve your arthritis symptoms, walking speed, and quality of life, according to the CDC.

Walking is part of a healthy lifestyle to keep your heart and bones strong and your joints functioning. Here are tips for walking when you have sensitive knees.

Why Walking Is Good for Your Knees

Your knee joint is composed of bone and cartilage. Cartilage doesn’t have a blood supply that is always nourishing it by the pumping action of the heart and so it relies on joint fluid for nutrition. Moving your joints is the way that you ensure the cartilage receives the nourishment it needs to stay healthy.

You may notice that your joints are stiff and sore in the morning or when you’ve been sitting and inactive during the day. By moving your joints, you help them maintain their function and you may help keep them functioning longer.

Regular exercise maintains and builds muscles, which you need to support your knee and maintain functioning. Weight-bearing exercise such as walking also helps maintain bone health.

Discuss your exercise options with your doctor and physical therapist when you have any condition that is causing knee pain. While walking is recommended for many people, it may not be appropriate for you.

Should You Walk When You Have Knee Pain?

If you have mild to moderate pain in your knees due to osteoarthritis, walking and other exercise helps mobilize your joint fluid and lubricate the joints. You should walk and do other exercises that move your knee joints. You are likely to find that the stiffness, pain, and fatigue improve with exercise.

If you have moderate to severe pain in your knees before you start walking, take it easy. Do a shorter walk at an easy pace or try an activity that doesn’t place much stress on the joint, such as water exercises in a pool. If joint pain remains severe, stop immediately as it is a sign of inflammation or joint damage that needs treatment.

If you have joint pain occasionally the day after a walk or run, you should take a day off and do a shorter workout or one that doesn’t put stress on the joint. If you always have joint pain after exercise, you may have to switch to a form of exercise that doesn’t put stress on the knees, such as cycling or swimming.

Tips for Walking With Sensitive Knees

Taking certain precautions can make it easier to continue your walking routine despite sensitive knees. Here are 12 ways to protect your knees when walking.

  • Add cycling: Incorporate cycling on a stationary bike, bicycle, or even an under-desk cycle to help keep your opposing muscles in shape for better support of the knee.
  • Aim for 6000 steps per day: A study found that people with osteoarthritis knee pain benefit most when they walk 6000 steps or more per day.2 If you wear a pedometer or use a phone app to track your steps, all of your steps during the day count. Make that your first goal. If you can eventually exceed that regularly without increasing pain, that is good.
  • Build your walking time: If you are new to walking, steadily build up your walking time following a plan for beginners. Walking can be broken up into 10-minute segments, with an ultimate goal of 30 minutes per day. Start at an easy or moderate pace as you build endurance. Eventually, aim to walk briskly at 2.5 to 3.5 mph or a pace that has you find challenging.
  • Choose softer walking surfaces: Walking on natural surface trails (dirt, bark dust, pea gravel) is easier on the joints. Although sometimes uneven, natural surfaces provide more balanced exercise. For even surfaces, choose a cinder track or asphalt rather than concrete. Note that flooring in malls and stores is primarily concrete.
  • Choose the right shoes: Shoes should be flat and flexible, bendable in the forefoot with a low heel-to-toe drop. Avoid high heels, pointy toes, and heavy shoes. Look for shoes with a wide toe box. Even a 1.5-inch higher heel can increase pressure on two common sites for knee osteoarthritis damage. Choose heels that are 3/4 inch or less.
  • Keep moving throughout the day: Get up and move around or stretch every 15 minutes. This will keep your joint fluid moving and nourish your knees. Even just a minute can help reduce the health risks of sitting and will be good for your joints.​
  • Lose excess weight: If you are overweight, losing even a few pounds can reduce stress on your knees. Diet is the most effective way to lose weight. You will be able to walk and exercise with less pain and discomfort after some of the excess weight has been lost.
  • Use cold packs after walking: You’ve done well by getting your joint fluid moving. You can apply cold packs afterward to help reduce inflammation.
  • Use inserts: When you have sensitive knees, avoid arch supports and shoes that have a high amount of arch support. You want your foot to move as naturally as possible. You can use over-the-counter orthotics that provide cushioning and support if you think that is helpful for you or they have been recommended by your doctor or podiatrist.
  • Use walking poles: Some people find that using trekking poles or Nordic walking poles helps them with stability and reducing joint fatigue when walking. Canes and other walking aids may be useful, depending on your condition.
  • Walk during low-pain times of the day: If you have a lot of pain or stiffness in the morning, simply try to get up and move around for a minute or two every half hour. You will better enjoy long walks at a time when you have fewer aches, and that will help you be consistent.
  • Warm up: You may benefit from applying heat to your joints before you walk, or walking after taking a warm shower or bath. Starting at an easy pace is recommended for everyone, but especially when you have stiff or sore joints. Start slow to get your joint fluid moving. Then you can pick up your pace after a few minutes.

A Word From New Mexico Orthopaedics

Walking is the most accessible form of physical activity and can help you maintain joint health. However, it’s not the only option. If your sensitive knees keep you from walking, you can get the physical activity you need by enjoying cycling, pool exercises, swimming, or water aerobics.

You should also include resistance exercise to build and maintain muscles, including any specific exercises recommended for your knees by your doctor or physical therapist. Balance exercises can also be beneficial. Once you are confident walking, you can even include them in your walking workouts. Just keep moving!

 


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.