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Knee Health

  • Common Knee Conditions

    knee pain in runner

    The knee is an important structure in the body responsible for movement and weight bearing. It is one of the largest joints in the body, consisting of 3 bones – the thigh bone (femur), the shin bone (tibia), and the kneecap (patella) – joined together by an extensive network of ligaments, cartilage, tendons and muscles. Knee injury can be a result of sports or recreational activities, accidental falls, and daily wear and tear. Most minor injuries like cuts and bruises heal on their own but certain injuries may lead to serious conditions that can affect knee function in the long run.

    Knee injury in its early stages may present with subtle symptoms which could worsen over time. Learn more about the common symptoms and conditions that affect the knee, as well as the specialty treatments available at Mount Elizabeth Hospitals.

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    Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)

    knee injury

    The anterior cruciate ligament is one of the main stabilising ligaments in the knee. An anterior cruciate ligament injury is a tear to the anterior cruciate ligament. Injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament are common among people who play sports that have start-stop movements, pivoting or sudden changes in direction. These sports include football, netball, tennis, dancing and skiing.

    The symptoms include a popping sound when the ligament ruptures, difficulty with knee movement, feeling of instability, with the knee ‘giving way’ during daily activities, pain immediately after an injury, swelling of the affected knee within 4 – 12 hours, or walking with a painful limp.

    If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your orthopaedic specialist. Your doctor will recommend treatment options that best suit your lifestyle needs. Find out more about the treatment options and sports rehabilitation services available.

    Meniscus Tear

    knee meniscus tear

    A meniscus tear occurs when one of the pieces of cartilage in the knee is injured and tears. The meniscus is a small C-shaped cartilage that acts as a cushion in the knee joint. A meniscus tear occurs during movements that forcefully rotate the knee while the foot is firmly planted, which may happen during contact sports such as basketball or football.

    Symptoms of a meniscus tear include clicking or popping sounds during movement, limited range of movement, a locking sensation (inability to straighten the knee), pain on either side of the knee, swelling at the joint line are or tenderness along the joint line.

    If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your orthopaedic specialist. Your doctor will recommend treatment options that best suit your lifestyle needs. Find out more about the treatment options and sports rehabilitation services available.

    Anterior Knee Pain

    runner with knee pain

    Anterior knee pain is the inflammation of the underside of the kneecap (patella). It often affects young people who play sports and older people who overwork their knees. Anterior knee pain can be due to injury or trauma to the kneecap (such as a dislocation or fracture), overuse with repetitive stress placed on your knee joint (prolonged long distance running or jumping sports), or when muscles around the hip and knee weaken.

    Common symptoms include a dull aching pain in the front of kneecap, which can be aggravated by kneeling, squatting, running, sitting and walking up and down the stairs.

    If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your orthopaedic specialist. Your doctor will recommend treatment options that best suit your lifestyle needs. Find out more about the treatment options and sports rehabilitation services available.

    Patellar Tendonitis

    patellar tendon

    Patellar tendonitis is an injury to the tendon connecting your knee cap to your shin bone. The patellar tendon helps your muscles extend your lower leg so that you can kick a ball, pedal your bicycle and jump up in the air.

    Patellar tendonitis is usually caused by overuse of the patellar tendon. People who play sports with lots of squatting and jumping movements are most at risk. Another cause is abnormal alignment of the lower limbs, such as in flat feet. These altered postures change the angle between the quadriceps muscle and the patellar tendon. Increased tension in the patellar tendon may occur during growth spurts, such that the tendon cannot keep up with the growth of the lower leg. In this situation, the tendon becomes too short, causing it to pull on the bottom tip of the knee cap. This condition is known as Sinding-Larsen-Johansson disorder.

    Symptoms of patellar tendonitis include pain and tenderness just below the kneecap, swelling and pain when kneeling.

    If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your orthopaedic specialist. Your doctor will recommend treatment options that best suit your lifestyle needs. Find out more about the treatment options and sports rehabilitation services available.

    Arthritis

    knee arthritis

    Knee arthritis results from thinning of the cartilage of the knee joint, usually due to injury or wear and tear. There are 3 kinds of knee arthritis:

    • Osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease that occurs as you age. This is the most common form of arthritis.

    • Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease in which your body’s immune system attacks the joint.

    • Post-trauma arthritis, caused by direct trauma to the knee that damages the cartilage and changes the joint mechanics.

    The causes of knee arthritis include being overweight, excessive wear and tear of knee joints from high-impact activities, increasing age, previous knee injury, tight lower limb muscles, or weak lower limb muscles. Symptoms include having bumps or ‘nodes’ around the knee, cracking or grinding when moving your knee, joint instability or feeling like the knee is ‘giving way’, knee pain that develops gradually and worsens with prolonged walking or standing, or morning stiffness and swelling.

    If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your orthopaedic specialist. Your doctor will recommend treatment options that best suit your lifestyle needs. Find out more about the treatment options and sports rehabilitation servicesavailable.

    Anterior knee pain

    runner with knee pain

    Anterior knee pain is the inflammation of the underside of the kneecap (patella). It often affects young people who play sports and older people who overwork their knees. Anterior knee pain can be due to injury or trauma to the kneecap (such as a dislocation or fracture), overuse with repetitive stress placed on your knee joint (prolonged long distance running or jumping sports), or when muscles around the hip and knee weaken.

    Common symptoms include a dull aching pain in the front of kneecap, which can be aggravated by kneeling, squatting, running, sitting and walking up and down the stairs.

    If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your orthopaedic specialist. Your doctor will recommend treatment options that best suit your lifestyle needs. Find out more about the treatment options and sports rehabilitation services available.

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    *This is not a complete list of all the conditions and treatments that we provide. Please note that the symptom checker is not a diagnostic tool. Do consult one of our qualified orthopaedic specialists for an accurate diagnosis of what condition is causing your symptoms.