Your knee is the largest weightbearing joint in your body and also one of the most easily injured. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), in 2003 patients made some 19.4 million visits to physicians' offices because of knee problems. It was the most common reason for visiting an orthopedic surgeon.
The knee is a complex joint with many parts, making it vulnerable to a variety of injuries. Your knee is made up of the lower end of the thighbone (femur), which rotates on the upper end of the shinbone (tibia), and the knee cap (patella), which slides in a groove on the end of the femur.
The knee also contains large ligaments that help control motion by connecting bones and stabilize the knee by bracing the joint against abnormal types of motion. Twisting injuries can lead to tears in these ligaments. Two of the major ligaments found in the knee, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the medial collateral ligament (MCL), are often injured in sports.
Another important part of the knee is the meniscus, a wedge of soft cartilage between the femur and tibia that cushions the knee and helps it absorb shock during motion. The meniscus can be torn as a result of a twisting injury or from wear and tear.
The AAOS recommends seeking treatment as soon as possible for a knee injury, especially if you:
- Hear a popping noise and feel your knee give out at the time of injury
- Have severe pain
- Cannot move the knee
- Begin limping
- Have swelling at the injury site
A common method used to treat mild knee injuries is the "RICE" method:
- Rest the knee by staying off of it or walking only with crutches.
- Ice it to control swelling.
- Compress the injured knee with elastic bandages applied snugly but loosely enough so it does not cause pain.
- Elevate the knee
Broken Bones and Injury
- Fractures of the Proximal Tibia
- Growth Plate Fractures
- Pediatric Thighbone (Femur) Fracture
- Shinbone Fractures
- Stress Fractures
- Thighbone (Femur) Fracture
Tears and Instability
Diseases and Syndromes
- Bowed Legs
- Goosefoot (Pes Anserine) Bursitis of the Knee
- Kneecap (Prepatellar) Bursitis
- Limb Length Discrepancy
- Osteonecrosis of the Knee
- Arthritis of the Knee
- Frequently Asked Questions about Osteoarthritis of the Knee
- Knee Osteoarthritis Statistics
- Adolescent Anterior Knee Pain
- Burning Thigh Pain (Meralgia paresthetica)
- Compartment Syndrome
- Osgood-Schlatter Disease (Knee Pain)
- Runner's Knee (Patellofemoral Pain)
Treatment and Rehabilitation
- Anesthesia for Hip and Knee Surgery
- Cemented and Cementless Knee Replacement
- Knee Implants
- Minimally Invasive Total Knee Replacement
- Osteotomy and Unicompartmental Knee Arthroplasty
- Total Knee Replacement
- Care of Casts and Splints
- How to Use Crutches, Canes and Walkers
- Viscosupplementation Treatment for Arthritis
Arthroscopy and Reconstruction
- Activities After a Knee Replacement
- Knee Arthroscopy Exercise Guide
- Total Knee Replacement Exercise Guide
Prevention and Safety
Baylor College of Medicine offers comprehensive, specialized care for the treatment of knee disorders and injuries. Our physicians are specially trained and experienced in arthroscopic knee surgery, total knee replacements, and other surgical and non-surgical treatments.
The Baylor Sports Medicine Institute is renowned for state-of-the-art treatment of knee and other athletic injuries by orthopedic surgeons specialty trained in sports medicine. We specialize in the prompt diagnosis of athletic injuries and immediate initiation of appropriate rehabilitative techniques. We perform surgery if necessary, exercising all options to facilitate the return of the injured athlete to their activities of choice. Our doctors are trusted physicians of professional sports teams and leaders in the development of new surgical techniques and devices.
As Baylor College of Medicine faculty members, our physicians not only provide expert clinical and surgical care, they also serve as researchers and educators for one of the nation's leading medical schools. As a result, they offer firsthand knowledge of the latest advancements in orthopedic surgery, and the ability to translate those advancements into better treatment for your knee injury or disorder.
Our Knee Specialists
- Melvyn A. Harrington, Jr., MD
- Board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in arthritis and joint reconstruction, including total and minimally invasive knee and hip replacements