Skiing, playing football or tennis …. Especially persons who are active in sports face an increased risk to suffer a knee injury. The most common knee injuries are a meniscus tears and ruptured cruciate ligament. Fact is that chronic overuse of the joints leads to premature joint wear, i.e. osteoarthritis. In addition, there are numerous other disorders that may be responsible for pain in the knee joint. An early accurate diagnosis is crucial for an optimal treatment.
Knee injuries can occur suddenly. Sometimes they are caused by an accident or any other acute traumatic event. They may, however, also develop over time as a result of wear and tear or chronic stress to the knee joint.
Acute knee injuries
- Acute meniscus tear - is most often caused by a knee injury or an acute traumatic event such as a sudden twist or a blow to the knee. For example, in a sport accident the meniscus can tear because of a sudden twist or blow suffered to the knee. In many cases, a meniscus tear occurs in combination with an anterior cruciate ligament tear.
- Cruciate ligament injuries - of the knee joint are caused by extreme stress acting on the knee joint, for example, in a fall or accident. Such traumatic event often causes the inner ligament and the anterior cruciate ligament to be injured. However, assessing the injury, it is necessary to differentiate between a sprain and a partial tear or rupture. Especially crucial is an anterior cruciate ligament tear since for the most part this type of injury requires surgery.
- Patellar dislocation / Kneecap luxation - is a condition that causes the patella to dislocate out of its normal position, which in turn may result in severe damage of the soft tissue and the cartilage. A kneecap luxation is frequently found in young patients.
- Ruptures / Fractures - of the patella, the thigh or lower leg bones, are usually caused by an accident or a heavy fall, a sudden twist of the knee or forceful blows to the bone.
Knee injuries caused by "overuse" of the knee
- Meniscus Tear – Meniscus damage can also be caused by a gradually developing rupture as a result of wear or a tissue weakness. Over the years, this may develop into a certain degeneration of the tissue, which in combination with daily stress to the knee joint can lead to a meniscus tear.
- Chondromalacia / cartilage damage - refers to a disease that affects the wear and tear of cartilage in a joint. The cartilage is softened, and eventually wear and tear progresses ultimately leading to a complete depletion of the protective cartilage layer, also referred to as degenerative arthritis.
- Degenerative Arthritis / Osteoarthritis means the advanced wear and tear of the joints. It is a degenerative disease that is based on a continuous wear of the articular cartilage. It can occur due to age, or can be favored by risk factors such as chronic strain, joint injury, obesity, and lack of exercise.
Other causes for knee pain
- Arthritis - generally refers to the inflammation of joints. Aside from overuse, other disorders can also be the cause for arthritis: rheumatism, Lyme disease, lupus, gout, and others. This disease is not based on accidents and or overload, but it can also cause swelling, tenderness, and stiffness in the knee joint.
- Bursitis is an inflammatory change in the bursa. It is often caused in the area of the kneecap through repetitive intensive stress, such as work done kneeling.
- Osteochondritis dissecans dissecans (OD) – One speaks about an OD, when a part of the cartilage or bone (or both) loses its blood supply and dies within the knee joint. This leads to pain and limited mobility up to joint blockages. The OD is a disease primarily affecting children and adolescence, but it can also occur in adults (M. Ahlbäck)
- Baker's cyst - also known as a popliteal cyst are fluid-filled cysts that lie behind the knee and can cause swelling. They are a sign of Hoffa's fat pad disease, which needs a more accurate diagnosis.
- Tendinitis - Tendonitis is an irritation or inflammation in the area of the tendons, often occurring with overuse.
Specialists for Knee Pain
For an optimal treatment of a meniscal tear, the knee experts at the Klinik am Ring are particularly well-qualified. Stefan Preis, M.D. and Jörg Schroeder, M.D., senior physicians at the Practice and Department of Orthopedics and Sports Traumatology at the Klinik am Ring in Cologne, specialize together with their team in the treatment of knee and shoulder disorders. In 2004, they founded the WEST GERMAN SHOULDER KNEE & CENTER, Cologne. The team consisting of eight specialists treats more than 10,000 patients per year. They are conducting more than 2500 surgeries per year of which about 1200 are surgeries of the knee joint.