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    Treatment for Knee Injuries

    Overview
    Types of Knee Injuries
    Treatment
    Where to Seek Treatment
    Singapore General Hospital
    Contributed by Dept of Orthopaedic Surgery

    Overview

    Knee injuries, especially amongst sportsmen and older adults, are a common reason why people visit the orthopaedic specialist. Common knee injuries are ligament sprains, cartilage tears, overuse injuries and arthritis.


    Types of Knee Injuries


     Ligament Injuries
         -   Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)
         -   Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL)
         -   Collateral Ligaments

     Cartilage Injuries
         -   Meniscus Injuries
         -   Articular Cartilage Injury

     Knee Cap Injury
         -   Patello-Femoral Pain Syndrome (PFS)

     Tendon Injuries and Disorders
         -   Patellar Tendinitis

     Osteoarthritis of the Knee


    Treatment

    Osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee is the most common type of OA and a common cause of disability. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to manage the symptoms of knee OA. See Osteoarthritis.

    For the treatment of knee OA, your doctor may sometimes recommend a steroid injection into or around the joint. The pain relief is usually only temporary, and your doctor will limit the number of steroid injections that you can receive.

    Another type of injection therapy is called visco-supplementation. This involves the injection of hyaluronic acid derivatives into the joint. Hyaluronic acid is a normal component of joint fluid. However, the response to hyaluronic acid injection, as with steroid injection, is variable and usually temporary.

    Knee Surgery

    Surgery is usually only offered for severe cases that have not responded to the other forms of therapy (see section on Osteoarthritis). Both the type of surgery and the decision for surgery are made following careful discussions between you and your doctor.

    Some of the more common types of surgery include:

    Arthroscopy


    This is suitable for early OA of the knee, and is considered a minor procedure during which the orthopaedic specialist uses an ‘arthroscope’ to look inside the joint. This is a form of ‘keyhole surgery’. During the procedure, the surgeon will be able to clean up damaged portions of the joint, or stimulate repair in areas where the cartilage has been lost. See Arthroscopy.

    Osteotomy


    This procedure is suitable for younger patients (generally less than 50 years old) with limited OA of the knee. During this procedure, the bones around the joint are cut to allow the alignment of the joint to be corrected. Symptom relief can sometimes be achieved for up to 10 years following this procedure.

    Joint Replacement Surgery


    In late stages of OA, the joint has become so damaged that the best treatment is to replace the joint with an artificial one, which is typically made of a metal alloy together with a plastic component. The entire joint may be replaced (total joint replacement), or if OA is limited to only one part of the joint, then the surgeon may choose to only replace that part (unicompartmental/partial joint replacement).

    Need indepth information?

    Access our Conditions & Treatments sections for related topics on Osteoarthritis and Arthroscopy - Minimally Invasive Knee Surgery. Read Medical Procedures for Treatment for Knee Pain - Knee Replacement Surgery.

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