Common Knee Disorders
Traumatic injury to the knee
The knee, while relatively stable, can be injured in any number of ways, including during sports, a fall or a collision. The quick and unexpected twisting or reposition of the joint can damage the cartilage or ligaments. In many cases it is possible to repair this damage by repairing, restoring or replacing the cartilage.
The most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis, generally develops from "wear and tear" of the cartilage and lubricating surfaces of the bones that connect at the joint. As we age, many of us will develop degenerative arthritis of one or more of our joints. This arthritis is characterized by destruction of the natural cushioning and lubricating surfaces of the joint and may be accompanied by bony overgrowth (bone spurs). In the most severe cases, all the cartilage can wear away and there will be bone-on-bone contact. These severe cases are more commonly treated with knee replacement rather than cartilage restoration.
Characterized by localized bone death, avascular necrosis results from disruption of blood flow to the bone. The bone death may be painful and usually causes the bone to collapse, which can lead to joint destruction and arthritis. In some cases cartilage restoration techniques can be used to treat this disorder to avoid the need for knee replacement.
Rheumatoid (inflammatory) arthritis
An autoimmune disorder characterized by chronic inflammation of the affected joints, rheumatoid and inflammatory arthritis may involve multiple joints and can occur at any age. The inflammatory process of rheumatoid or inflammatory arthritis swells the cartilage, muscles, tendons and ligaments which can misshape the joints, erode the cartilage and eventually lead to destruction of bone. Most of these cases are candidates only for joint replacement when medical management fails.