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Common Injuries That May Require Knee Surgery

Common Injuries That May Require Knee Surgery

When our bodies are healthy, it is easy to go about the day without appreciating the intricate features of our joints. Sometimes it takes an injury to truly appreciate pain-free daily activities such as sitting, standing, walking, and running. Patients of all ages can experience debilitating knee pain from trauma to the knee joint’s ligaments, tendons, cartilage, bones, or muscles. Your knee is a complex joint, making it vulnerable to trauma from sports injuries, infection, and arthritis. While it is important to address knee pain with non-surgical procedures such as physical therapy and pain medication, it may not always be enough. In some cases, with structural damage, and pain that hasn’t responded to other therapies, knee surgery is the most appropriate treatment.

What Kind Of Injuries Lead To Knee Surgery?

Adults commonly complain of knee pain, which can originate from daily general wear and tear, or from activities that involve jumping or quick pivoting. Any type of exercise that involves abrupt stops, starts, and turns, or the possibility of awkward jumps and landings - such as basketball, tennis, soccer, and football - can cause debilitating injury. Repetitive jumping exercises, which target developing muscle power, can also be tough on the knee joint. But whether the cause is associated with aging or injury, it can be a nuisance and can negatively affect your quality of life.

Common knee injuries include fractures, dislocations, tears and sprains that may happen due to a fall, forceful twisting of the knee, or even heavy impact from a motor vehicle accident. Athletes frequently experience meniscus or anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, which do not typically re-attach without knee surgery. Your meniscus is a type of cartilage in your knee that cushions and stabilizes the joint, while the ACL helps stabilize the knee joint in side-to-side movements. Cartilage tears can often occur with sprains. Less common sports injuries include patella (kneecap) fractures, which are more associated with high-impact trauma. Many knee injuries require immediate medical attention, and some can lead to knee surgery. 

What Are The Most Common Types Of Knee Surgery?
The most common knee surgery is Arthroscopy, a technique used for diagnosis of and repair of several types of knee problems. An arthroscopic procedure can remove pieces of torn meniscus, loose bone, or cartilage fragments. Arthroscopic knee surgery can reconstruct a torn ACL, remove inflamed synovial (connective) tissue, and can treat knee sepsis (infection) or patella (kneecap) problems. 

Alternately, ACL reconstruction is designed to restore knee stability and strength by replacing the ligament with either another ligament from your body or with tissue from a donor. Knee replacement surgery may be indicated if your pain persists even during rest, if inflammation and swelling do not respond to medications, and your daily activities are affected by severe pain and stiffness. The results of this knee surgery can last 15-20 years, but are not permanent and therefore, age is a factor in deciding between surgery and other pain management options

Getting Back To An Active Life After Knee Surgery

Persistent knee pain can adversely affect your life, and force you to give up activities that you may love, such as playing sports or dancing. If you think your chronic knee pain may not be responding well to non-surgical options, book a consultation with a reliable, experienced surgeon. Your general health, lifestyle, and specific circumstances should be addressed before determining whether or not you should undergo knee replacement surgery. 

At Okanagan Health Surgical Centre, our board-certified surgeons can help you get back to healthy living! To find out whether you are a candidate for knee surgery, contact us at 250-868-9799 or fill in our online form.


Q: What are some treatment alternatives to knee surgery?
A: There are many options that you can try to repair your knee before choosing to have knee surgery. Whether, or not, you choose to have surgery these are all great recommendations to improve your probability of excellent surgical results:

  • Addition of a low impact exercise routine
  • Losing weight to decrease pressure on the joint
  • Physiotherapy
  • Supplementation
  • Medication for pain relief and to decrease inflammation

Q: What happens during knee surgery?
A: First, your surgeon will make a minimal incision on the front of your knee into which they insert a tiny camera (an arthroscope). This will give them a clear view of your joint so that they can investigate any problems and if necessary, correct the issue using the small instruments contained within the arthroscope. Knee reconstruction surgery requires the surgeon to access the knee joint to cut away damaged ends of your thigh bone and shin bone. Finally, the ends are precisely measured and shaped to fit the prosthetic replacement. Learn more about knee replacement surgery by reading What To Expect With Knee Replacement Surgery.

Q: What does recovery from knee surgery look like?
A: The recovery timeline for an arthroscopic knee surgery patient depends on which procedure is used, and individual factors such as a person’s age and overall health. Many people leave the hospital the same day or the next morning. However, it may take several days to several months before the patient feels that life is back to normal. During the healing process, you may need to use crutches, pain medications and participate in physical therapy. For more information read Recovering From Knee Surgery: What To Expect.

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