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Knee Pain

Relieving Knee Pain in Orange County

What is Knee Pain?

While the knee is considered to be quite durable and can handle repeat motion and a fair amount of wear and tear, this hinge joint with age and use can wear down or become damaged, resulting in knee pain often described as dull, aching, throbbing, sharp or a burning pain.

The precise location of your knee pain can help your knee surgeon better determine the underlying cause. For example, problems in the knee joint itself tend to result in pain on the inside (medial) or outside (lateral) of your knee. Whereas, knee pain on the outside of your knee felt on the front of the knee can be related to problems with the patella (knee cap). Thigh or shin pain are typically caused by muscle, ligaments, tendons, small tissue damage and/or nerves that surround the knee joint.

Your doctor will perform a physical examination and possibly order diagnostic imaging to properly locate your pain and diagnose your condition.

Common Types of Knee Pain and Causes of Knee Pain

The most common causes of knee pain are related to aging, injury or repeated stress on the knee. At Newport Orthopedic Institute our knee doctors are either board certified orthopedic surgeons or sports medicine doctors and are fellowship-trained to treat a range of knee injuries with both conservative, nonsurgical treatments as well as surgical treatments.

  • ACL Injury: Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is the most commonly injured knee ligament. It connects the thigh bone (femur) to the shin bone (tibia).The ACL controls rotation and forward movement of the shin bone.
  • Baker’s Cyst / Popliteal Cyst: Baker’s cysts are one of the most common disorders of the knee. These fluid-filled cysts form a lump at the back of the knee that often causes stiffness and discomfort. It can often result from osteoarthritis or a meniscus tear – conditions that cause the joint to produce excess fluid, which can lead to the formation of a cyst.
  • Chondromalacia Patellae/Patellofemoral Syndrome: This condition is also known as “runner’s knee” and is a condition where the cartilage on the undersurface of the patella (kneecap) deteriorates and softens. This condition is common among young, athletic individuals, but may also occur in older adults who have arthritis of the knee.
  • Dislocated Knee: A knee dislocation occurs when the knee bones come out of place. This can happen when there is a large impact to the knee, such as a fall, a collision, or a car accident. This is considered an emergency and requires immediate attention.
  • Dislocated Kneecap / Dislocated Patella: A dislocated kneecap (also referred to as a Dislocated Patella) only involves misplacement of the patella, the flat bone that comprises the actual kneecap. Whereas, a dislocated knee involves is when the large thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia) are moved out of place.
  • Knee Arthritis: Arthritis of the knee is inflammation to your knee joint causing pain, swelling, and stiffness. This condition can make it difficult to perform daily activities such as walking or climbing stairs.
  • Knee Cartilage Injuries / Torn Cartilage: Trauma to the knee can tear the menisci (pads of connective tissue that act as shock absorbers and also enhance stability). Cartilage tears are often caused by sports injuries, but can result from any activity involving twisting or bending of the knee. The two most common types of knee cartilage injuries are the articular cartilage tear and meniscus tears.
  • Knee Ligament Injuries: Knee ligaments connect the bones and cartilage and support the knee joint. There are four main ligaments: The Medial collateral ligament (MCL), Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL). Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL). These 4 ligaments support and stabilize the knee and they can be injured during a sports injury or other traumatic injury such as a car accident. ACL injuries are one of the most common knee ligament injuries.
  • Knee Fracture: A Knee fracture typically occurs in older patients and in those dealing with osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones due to age and other factors. A fractured knee may occur after a traumatic injury or fall. It may also occur as a result of a stress injury, which are most common in female athletes who have an eating disorder, abnormal menstrual cycles and bone weakening.
  • Knee Bursitis / Goosefoot: When the bursa becomes inflamed, the condition is referred to as knee bursitis, but the pain is located in the groin area. This condition is not as common as trochanteric bursitis, but is treated similarly.
  • Knee Tendonitis Knee Tendonitis is the inflammation or irritation of a tendon that connect the femur and tibia bones or the tendons connected to your knee cap (quadriceps tendonitis or patellar tendonitis). It is more common in athletes who run, cycle or other high intensity sports. Common symptoms include tenderness on the knee where the tendon starts and knee stiffness after long periods of rest.
  • IT Band Syndrome: Iliotibial Band (IT Band) Syndrome is the inflammation or swelling of the iliotibial tract, also known as the IT band. The IT band is a strong, thick band of tissue that extends from the hip to the knee down the outside of your thigh. The IT band thickens at the knee. If the IT band is tight, due to insufficient stretching before or after exercising, it can rub excessively against the thighbone (femur) or iliotibial bursa inside the knee. This continued rubbing can cause pain and swelling to the outside of the knee. This syndrome is most common in athletes such as distance runners or those new to exercise.
  • LCL Injury: Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) connects the thigh bone (femur) to the fibula, the smaller bone of the lower leg on the outside of the knee. The LCL provides stability and support to the outer knee.
  • MCL Injury: Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) links the thigh bone (femur) to the shin bone (tibia) on the inside of the knee. The MCL provides stability to the inner knee.
  • Meniscus Tear / Torn Meniscus: Meniscus tears affect the c-shaped shock absorbers located on either side of your knee joint that act as a cushion between your shinbone and your thighbone (menisci). Meniscus tears are typically associated to activities that cause forceful twisting or rotating of the knee, especially when the knee if fully weighted such as in athletes who play contact sports like hockey or football. Common symptoms include pain, swelling and stiffness of the knee and can restrict knee movement such as difficulty extending the knee fully.
  • Osgood-Schlatter Disease: Osgood-Schlatter Disease is most commonly found in young athletes who play sports requiring a lot of jumping or running. This condition causes pain, swelling and inflammation below the knee joint, where the tendon from the kneecap (patellar tendon) attaches to the top of the shin bone (tibia), a spot called the tibial tuberosity.
  • Osteoarthritis of the Knee: Osteoarthritis damages the cartilage that cushions the bones of the Knee joint. This typically arises in older patients due to wear and tear on the joint. Knee Osteoarthritis causes the knee joint to stiffen and can become quite painful.
  • Osteonecrosis of the Knee / Avascular Necrosis: Knee Osteonecrosis, also called avascular necrosis, occurs when the Kneebone does not receive sufficient blood supply. A lack of normal blood supply can damage the bone cells which diminishes the strength of the bone considerably which can leave the bone susceptible to collapse and injury.
  • Patellar Tendonitis / Jumper’s Knee: Patellar Tendonitis causes inflammation of the tendon that connects the patella (Kneebone) to the tibia (shinbone). The patellar tendon plays a pivotal role in the way you use your leg muscles. Patellar tendonitis is a common overuse injury caused by repetitive stress on your patellar tendon. This stress can result in tiny tears and while your body attempts to repair these tears, without proper rest from activities, more tears can multiply, causing pain and inflammation and weakening of the tendon. This condition is most commonly seen in athletes who do repetitive jumping (basketball and volleyball) or in runners, hence the reason this is also called Jumper’s Knee. Unlike patellofemoral pain, knee pain from patellar tendonitis often decreases with time during activity as the tendon “warms up.”
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome / Runner’s Knee: Patellofemoral pain syndrome is a common knee condition, which typically affects senior athletes and those involved in running and jumping sports. This syndrome is caused by abnormal contact and movement patterns of the patella (kneecap) on the thigh bone (femur). This improper tracking causes pain to the front or beneath the kneecap.
  • PCL Injury: Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) also links the thigh bone (femur) to the shin bone (tibia) in the knee (like the ACL). PCL injuries are typically caused by a blow to the knee while it’s bent such as an automobile accident or falling on the knee while it’s bent. The PCL controls backward movement of the shin bone.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Knee: Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease seen in older patients which causes the body’s immune system to attack its own tissue resulting in inflammation of the knee joint resulting in swelling, knee Pain and stiffness of the knee joints. Left untreated, it can lead to knee joint deformity which leads to difficulty performing regular activities such as walking or climbing stairs.

Nonsurgical Treatment of Knee Pain

Most knee pain can be treated with conservative treatments including the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation). Your knee surgeon may also recommend you try over-the-counter anti-inflammatories. Depending on your diagnosis, your doctor may also prescribe physical therapy or a cortisone steroid injection. The doctors at Newport Orthopedic Institute will customize your treatment plan to alleviate your knee pain and get you back to your normal activities.

Surgical Treatments for Knee Pain

While your knee surgeon will attempt to exhaust all nonsurgical treatments to resolve your knee pain, if those treatments do not succeed you may be a candidate for knee surgery. The board-certified orthopedic surgeons at Newport Orthopedic Institute have been fellowship-trained to treat a range of knee conditions with the latest evidence-based surgical treatment options including:

Schedule a consultation with a Newport Orthopedic Institute orthopedic knee surgeon to treat your knee pain.
Call (949) 722-7038

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  • Total Knee Replacement "Your team has anticipated all complications that could occur." Provider: James T Caillouette MD
  • Knee Scope Without Reconstruction "Dr. Petrie is very easy to speak with with and he makes the extra effort to understand you and your lifestyle which will impact surgery and recovery." Provider: Russell S Petrie MD
  • Knee Scope Without Reconstruction "Dr. Beyer is easy to talk to and a very nice physician. I would just like a little more time with him during my office visits." Provider: Alan H Beyer MD
  • Total Knee Replacement "Dr. Caillouette and team were very good at continued communication to ensure things were going well with recovery. The use of Health Loop is much more efficient than phone use." Provider: James T Caillouette MD
  • Knee Scope With Reconstruction "Dr. Gazzaniga and his staff ran on time for every appointment. All the communication including what to expect after surgery was amazing! Thank you to the whole team!" Provider: David S Gazzaniga MD
  • Lumbar Decompression w/Fusion (posterior) "He answers all my questions and makes sure I understand. He does not rush." Provider: Michael L Gordon MD
  • Total Knee Replacement "Dr. Beyer paid attention to detail, was always prompt and courteous. His staff and team members were always courteous & always called me back when I requested." Provider: Alan H Beyer MD
  • Total Knee Replacement "The Beyer team showed a lot of concern and personal interest in my well-being." Provider: Alan H Beyer MD
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