The knee is a complex structure made up of bones, cartilage, ligaments, meniscus, and tendons. It is the largest joint in the body and is responsible for a number of crucial functions, such as bearing weight, maintaining stability, and supporting the body in an upright position without requiring muscles to work.
The knee absorbs a lot of stress from a person’s everyday movements, which is why it is highly susceptible to injuries. While most cases of knee injuries can be addressed with self-care measures or nonsurgical interventions, there are those that cause extensive damage to the knee and therefore require surgery.
Let’s explore the specific types of knee injuries that warrant surgical treatment and where you can get high-quality knee injury treatment in St. Peters and O’Fallon, Missouri.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tear
The ACL, the primary knee ligament, connects the shinbone to the bottom of the thighbone. The ACL aids in providing stability to the knee—keeping it from shifting during sudden, side-to-side movements, such as cutting, sidestepping, or shuffling.
ACL tears typically occur during sports or activities that involve sudden impact to the knee while the leg is straight or slightly bent.
ACL tears are graded based on their severity. A grade 3 ACL tear, which is characterized by a complete tear, causes severe knee pain and instability. Given its severity, a grade 3 ACL tear typically requires surgical intervention (ACL reconstruction) plus a long rehabilitation.
During an ACL reconstruction, the surgeon replaces the damaged ACL with a new ACL graft tissue, either transplanted from the patient’s main patellar tendon or the hamstring or from that of a donor (referred to as an allograft).
The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of soft but strong cartilage that cushions and stabilizes the knee.
Meniscus tears often occur during activities that involve aggressive pivoting or abrupt stopping and turning of the knee. Deep squatting, kneeling, or lifting heavy objects can sometimes tear the meniscus.
A radial tear is the most common type of meniscus tear, and it develops in the part of the knee that doesn’t have a blood supply, so it has no capacity to heal on its own. Meniscectomy is the only treatment option for radial tears, and it involves the surgical removal of all or part of the torn meniscus. Meniscectomy can be done arthroscopically, a minimally invasive and image-guided technique for repairing the meniscus.
The patella, commonly known as the kneecap, is a small bone located in the front part of the knee — where the shinbone and the thighbone meet. The patella’s primary functions are to protect the knee and to enhance leg extension.
Since the patella essentially shields the knee, it is especially prone to fractures, which are typically caused by direct impact or sharp blows to the knee.
There are different types of patellar fractures, most of which require surgery:
- Displaced fracture– This type of fracture occurs when the patella breaks into two or more pieces, and the broken pieces are separated and do not line up correctly. Displaced patellar fractures cause a major disruption in the extensor mechanism of the knee.
Surgery for displaced patellar fracture is geared toward putting fragments back into place stabilizing the patella.
- Comminuted fracture- In this type of fracture, the patella breaks into three or more pieces. Given the size of the patella, putting the fragments back into place involves an intricate process. The surgeon will remove those that cannot be reconstructed and use a combination of screws and wires to fix the loose tendon back into place.
- Open fracture- This type of fracture occurs when the patella breaks and protrudes through the skin. Open patellar fractures require emergency care and immediate corrective surgery to reduce the risk of infection.
Knee Injury Treatment in St. Peters and O’Fallon, MO
At Advanced Bone & Joint, our board-certified orthopedic surgeons pride themselves not only on their expertise but also on their dedication to providing high-quality and comprehensive care for knee injuries and all other types of orthopedic injuries.
If your knee injury requires surgical treatment, you can count on us to help you recover quickly and successfully through diligent follow-up appointments and a custom rehabilitation program.
To make an appointment with one of our orthopedic surgeons, call (636) 229-4222 or use our online request form.