Experiencing Knee Pain? Here's What You Need to Know.

May 20, 2024

Living With Knee Pain

Knee discomfort is a common issue affecting people of all ages and activity levels. Whether you're an athlete, an active outdoors person, or someone dealing with age-related wear and tear, understanding knee health is crucial for maintaining your mobility and quality of life. In this blog, we will explore common knee issues, the types of knee specialists, and the comprehensive care provided by ONJ's dedicated knee doctor teams.

Common Issues Causing Knee Pain

Meniscus Tear

A meniscus tear is a common injury involving the rubbery cartilage between your thigh and shin bones. It often occurs during activities that involve twisting or turning the knee quickly, especially with the foot planted. When the meniscus tears, it can cause sharp knee pain, swelling, and difficulty moving the knee. Many people report a popping sensation at the time of a meniscus injury, followed by a locking or catching feeling in the knee.

Person in trail with meniscus knee pain

Causes of Meniscus Tears:

  • Sudden twisting or pivoting movements
  • Direct impact to the knee
  • Age-related degeneration

Symptoms of Meniscus Tears:

  • Knee pain and swelling
  • Difficulty bending and straightening the knee
  • A clicking or locking sensation in the knee

ACL Tear (anterior cruciate ligament)

An ACL tear is a severe injury often associated with high-impact sports. A critical ligament that helps stabilize your knee. When it's torn, usually from a sudden stop or change in direction, the knee may give out, and you might hear a popping sound. Intense knee pain, swelling, and a significant loss of stability typically follow this injury.

Causes of ACL tears:

  • Sudden stops and changes in direction
  • Jumping and landing improperly
  • Direct impact to the knee

Symptoms of ACL tears:

  • A popping sound at the time of injury
  • Severe knee pain and swelling
  • Knee instability and inability to bear weight

Osgood-Schlatter Disease

Osgood-Schlatter disease is a condition that causes knee pain and swelling just below the knee joint in the area where the patellar tendon attaches to the shinbone. It's common in adolescents experiencing growth spurts and those who are very active in sports. The condition leads to tenderness and swelling at the tibial tuberosity, exacerbated by physical activity and relieved by rest.

Causes of Osgood-Schlatter Disease:

  • Repetitive stress and overuse during growth spurts
  • High levels of physical activity in adolescents

Symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter Disease:

  • Knee pain and swelling below the kneecap
  • Tenderness at the tibial tuberosity
  • Increased pain with activity and relief with rest

IT Band Syndrome

Man sitting in a trail with a bike helmet on and his bike beside him with two hands on his knee experiencing knee pain from ID Band Syndrome.

IT band syndrome occurs when the thick band of tissue from the hip to the shin, called the iliotibial band, becomes tight or inflamed. This injury is prevalent for runners and cyclists. It manifests as a sharp pain on the outside of the knee, which worsens with activity. Runners often describe a snapping sensation as the band moves over the knee.

Causes of IT Band Syndrome:

  • Overuse and repetitive bending of the knee
  • Poor running technique or inadequate stretching

Symptoms of IT Band Syndrome:

  • Knee pain on the outside of the knee
  • Swelling and a snapping sensation
  • Discomfort that worsens with activity

Patellar Tendinitis (Jumper's Knee)

Patellar tendinitis, also known as jumper's knee, is an injury caused by overuse affecting the tendon connecting the kneecap to the shinbone. It's prevalent in athletes who engage in frequent jumping and running. This condition causes pain and tenderness around the kneecap, with swelling and stiffness intensifying with activity.

Causes of Patellar Tendinitis:

  • Overuse from jumping and running
  • Sudden increase in physical activity

Symptoms of Patellar Tendinitis:

  • Knee pain and tenderness around the kneecap
  • Swelling and stiffness
  • Knee pain during physical activity

Runner's Knee (Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome)

Runner's knee, or patellofemoral pain syndrome, results from overuse and misalignment of the kneecap. It causes a dull, aching pain around the front of the knee, which worsens with activities like running, squatting, or prolonged sitting. Swelling and a grinding sensation are also common.

Causes of Runner's Knee:

  • Overuse and repetitive motion
  • Misalignment of the kneecap
  • Weak thigh muscles

Symptoms of Runner's Knee:

  • Dull, aching knee pain, specifically around the kneecap
  • Knee pain that worsens with activity or after prolonged sitting
  • Swelling and a grinding sensation
Man sitting on exam table in doctor's office holds his knee because he is having knee pain.

Types of Knee Doctors

ONJ has a team of orthopedic surgeons who specialize in both surgical and non-surgical treatments of knee pain and knee problems. Our sports medicine physicians focus on treating and preventing sports-related injuries and often work with athletes. Our rheumatologists are experts in treating arthritis and other inflammatory conditions that can affect the knee. Our team of physical therapists provides rehabilitation to improve knee function and mobility through exercises and other therapeutic techniques.

ONJ's Dedicated Knee Doctor Team

ONJ offers comprehensive care for knee issues with a multidisciplinary team of specialists, including our orthopaedic surgeons, sports medicine physicians, and physical therapists. This collaborative approach ensures patients receive personalized treatment plans tailored to their needs.

Treatment Options

Non-Surgical Treatments

  • Rest and Activity Modification: Reducing activities that aggravate the knee.
  • Physical Therapy: Recommended exercises to strengthen the muscles around the knee and improve flexibility.
  • Medications: Anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Bracing: Using knee braces to provide support and stability.
  • Injections: Corticosteroid or hyaluronic acid injections may be used to reduce inflammation and pain.

Surgical Treatments

  • Arthroscopy: This is a minimally invasive procedure that can be used to repair or remove damaged tissue.
  • Meniscectomy or Meniscus Repair: Removing or repairing a torn meniscus.
  • ACL Reconstruction: Replacing a torn ACL with a graft.
  • Total or Partial Knee Replacement: Replacing damaged joint surfaces with artificial implants.

Why Choose an OrthoNJ Doctor for Your Knee Pain?

OrthoNJ is different from your typical medical provider. Unlike many in the industry, we prioritize patient care over profits. Our six divisions work collaboratively to ensure the best outcomes for our patients. We believe in the "Power to Put Patients First," our doctors and divisional partners strive to uphold this commitment to our patients in every aspect of our medical care.

  • With over 120 fantastic physicians, all board-certified, board-qualified, or fellowship-trained, OrthoNJ offers top-tier expertise across a wide range of specialties.
  • We serve over 250 communities throughout New Jersey, providing treatment and continuing care for various orthopedic needs.
  • With more than 30 statewide offices, our reach extends across the entire state. Whether in North Jersey, South Jersey, or anywhere between, OrthoNJ proudly serves you.

When to Seek Care from an ONJ Orthopaedic Knee Specialist

Consider consulting an ONJ orthopaedic knee specialist if you experience:

  • Persistent knee pain or knee discomfort that interferes with daily activities
  • Severe knee pain following an injury
  • Swelling and redness around the knee
  • Difficulty bearing weight or walking
  • Knee instability when you step or a feeling of the knee giving way

Stop suffering! If you are experiencing persistent or severe knee pain, a timely intervention can prevent further damage and promote quicker recovery. Our dedicated expert teams at ONJ provide you with the highest standard of personalized care to help you return to your normal activities as swiftly and safely as possible.

You don't have to stay in pain. Contact one of our ONJ divisions to schedule an appointment.

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Understanding the various knee issues and knowing when to seek professional care is crucial for maintaining knee health and overall mobility. With a range of personalized treatment options and specialized care available, ONJ's dedicated knee doctor teams are here to support you on your journey to recovery.

Related reading: Knee Pain Relief: When to Ice, When to Heat

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