The knee, one of the largest joints in the body, consists 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. As the knee is an important structure responsible for movement and weight bearing, it is vital to understand the conditions that may affect its function, the treatment options available, and how to best care for the knees to help prevent future complications and long-term disability.
Common Knee Injuries
Knee injuries can be a result of sports or recreational activities, accidental falls, or even everyday 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. Common knee injuries include:
The kneecap is the most common bone fracture in the knee. Many fractures around the knee are caused by high energy trauma, such as falls from heights or motor vehicle collisions. Should the force of impact cause the bone to break and displace from its original position, surgery may be required.
Symptoms of bone fracture in the knee include pain, tenderness, swelling, deformity at the area of the fracture, and limitation in movement. For minor cases, treatment usually requires immobilisation with cast support until the bone fragments heal, which can take about 6 weeks. Surgery may be required to align and stabilise the bones. Consult with your doctor to understand the treatment options available.
Arthritis is a condition where inflammation occurs in and around the joint. Osteoarthritis is common in the knee, where the protective cushion between the joints (cartilage) can wear out due to ageing or wear and tear. Genetic factors, joint instability and injury may also contribute to osteoarthritis. Symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain, stiffness, limited movement, swelling, and at times a grinding sensation when moving.