Knee Pain and Problems

The knees bear a lot of stress from everyday activities, such as lifting and kneeling, and from high-impact activities, such as jogging and aerobics. The knee has three parts: the tibia (shin bone), femur (thigh bone), and patella (kneecap), which are held together by muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Each bone end is covered with a layer of cartilage that absorbs shock and protects the knee.

Common Knee Problems

Many knee problems result from the aging process and continual wear and stress. Other knee problems result from injury. Common knee problems include the following:

  • Cartilage injury
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Bursitis (prepatellar, infrapatellar, pes anserine)
  • Ligament injury or tear (ACL, PCL, MCL, LCL)
  • Muscle injury
  • Sprain/strain
  • Meniscus tear/injury
  • Instability
  • Hypermobility
  • Tendinopathy/tendon tear
  • Overuse injury
  • Nerve conditions
  • Bone injury/fracture
  • Dislocation/subluxation
  • Congenital/alignment abnormalities

Diagnosing Knee Problems

In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, your doctor may use the following tests to diagnose knee problems:

  • X-ray
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Computed tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan)
  • Electromyogram/nerve condition (EMG/NCV) to evaluate nerve and muscle function.
  • Ultrasound
  • Laboratory tests, if needed

Treatments for Knee Problems

Your doctor will work with you to determine the best treatment plan based on your age, overall health, and medical history; the severity of your condition; and your tolerance of certain medications, procedures, or therapies.

Treatments for knee problems may include activity modification, exercise, medication, physical therapy, bracing, pain management techniques, injections, and surgery.

Why Choose Columbia for Knee Problems

Our physicians are highly skilled in diagnosing and treating knee conditions. We perform a thorough diagnostic evaluation to find the cause of your knee pain and plan the most conservative treatment possible, which may include exercise, lifestyle changes, medications, and if needed, injections or other pain management techniques. Our physicians may use imaging to help guide injections to ensure the appropriate placement of the medication. If a knee condition does not improve, we work closely with Columbia orthopedic surgeons for cases that may require a procedure.