Providing knee pain relief in Aurora

Many people feel knee pain at some point in their lives. Knee pain can be the result of “growing pains,” overuse, an injury, arthritis or trauma. Sometimes, knee pain will go away on its own with rest. However, knee pain can be a sign of more significant orthopedic trauma that and needs to be addressed by an orthopedic surgeon.

To schedule an appointment with an orthopedic knee specialist at The Medical Center of Aurora, please call (303) 873-0630.

Lingering knee pain, stiffness in the knee, swelling of the knee or any combination of these symptoms, especially if they limit your mobility, should not be ignored. These symptoms may be a sign of more serious knee injury and should be seen by an orthopedic surgeon. While non-surgical options are always considered first for treating knee injuries and diseases, minimally invasive knee surgery and knee replacement surgery are options for severe knee injury cases, like:

  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury
  • Knee fracture
  • Knee replacement and total knee replacement
  • Knee sprain
  • Meniscal tear
  • Posterior cruciate ligament injury (PCL) injury

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury

An ACL injury is a tear in a ligament of the knee. The ACL keeps the knee stable during movement by keeping the lower leg bone from sliding too far forward. Symptoms of an ACL injury include a popping sound at the time of the injury, deep pain in the knee, immediate swelling after the injury, weakness or instability in the knee, difficulty walking and a restricted range of motion—especially when straightening the knee.

ACL treatments focus on returning the patient to their daily activities and full quality of life. A knee brace and crutches can help keep the knee stable, and over-the-counter or prescription medications may be prescribed to reduce pain and swelling. Treatment will also include rest, ice, compression and elevation, along with physical therapy.

ACL repair surgery is not always required, but it may be an option if the patient is young and active or if other ligaments in the knee are damaged, or the knee is unstable.

Knee fracture

A knee fracture is a break or crack in one or more of the bones in the knee joint. Knee fractures are usually caused by trauma to the knee that can occur in sports injuries, car accidents, falls or other direct blunt force impact accidents.

Orthopedic surgeons typically treat knee fractures with a brace, splint, cast or other device to stabilize and immobilize the knee while it heals. In some cases, minimally invasive knee surgery may be required to put the bones back into place and secure them with pins, screws or wires.

Partial knee replacement and total knee replacement

Arthroplasty is most commonly performed on patients with progressive osteoarthritis or a severe destructive knee injury. Decreasing motion in the joint, increasing pain and decreased quality of life will lead to the need for a knee replacement.

During a knee replacement or minimally invasive knee replacement surgery, your orthopedic surgeon will remove damaged cartilage and bone around the knee. Implants and spacers will be attached to help the knee move easily and comfortably.

Recovery from a knee replacement surgery may take several weeks to months and is aided by pain medications, antibiotics to prevent infection and physical therapy to restore function.

Knee sprain

A knee sprain is the stretching or tearing of ligaments that support the knee. Symptoms of knee sprain include pain, swelling, redness, warmth or bruising around the knee, decreased range of motion in the knee and inability to stand on the affected leg.

There are different levels of knee sprains and recovery time will depend on how bad the injury is. A lower level knee sprain, where there is mild fraying of ligament fibers, could be healed in two to four weeks, while a more serious knee sprain, where the ligament tears or separates from the bone, could take up to six months to heal.

Treatment for a knee sprain can include rest, ice, compression and elevation, pain medications and knee support devices, such as braces or crutches. Exercises may be advised to restore flexibility, range of motion and strength. In some serious cases, minimally invasive knee surgery may be needed if a ligament is torn completely.

Meniscal tear

A meniscal tear is a tear in the meniscus, the cartilage that acts as a shock-absorbing structure in the knee. Athletes are prone to meniscus tears because of the twisting and turning of the knees. Young children are prone to meniscus tears if they are in competitive sports, more often—including soccer, football, basketball and tennis. As adults age and osteoporosis sets in, the meniscus becomes more susceptible to tears during everyday activities, and sudden bending and twisting can cause a tear as well.

Supportive care during the healing process from a meniscal tear can include rest, ice, compression, elevation, a knee brace to stabilize the knee, crutches to keep weight and pressure off the knee, pain relief medications and physical therapy. Surgery may be required to repair or removal of all or part of the damaged meniscus.

If the meniscus is not allowed to heal, additional damage can be done, so it’s very important to see an orthopedic surgeon specializing in the knee. Symptoms of meniscal tear include pain in the center of the knee, swelling, popping of the knee, a “wobbly knee” or a knee that is not supportive when you stand

Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injury

The PCL is one of the ligaments that connect the lower leg bone to the thigh bone. It helps to stabilize the knee during movement. A PCL injury can be acute/traumatic or newly diagnosed for a chronic problem. Physical therapy can help some PCL injuries. Braces to support the knee or walking with crutches may be recommended. If there is more serious damage to the knee, minimally invasive knee surgery may be required followed by physical therapy.

Our orthopedic knee specialists

Our orthopedic team provides individualized care from diagnosis through treatment and recovery. Care teams include collaborating nurses, rehabilitation experts and medical staff for each patient through the complete treatment journey.

As the only hospital in Colorado offering the Own The Bone program, our care teams specialize in educating, preventing and treating patients on conditions related to osteoporosis. Because we care about the whole patient, we care about taking care of you before osteoporosis-related injuries happen. And when there is an injury pertaining to osteoporosis, we want to help you get back to normal daily activities as quickly as possible and prevent complications in the future.