Knee pain

Basic Knee Pain & Issues

Brief anatomy of the knee


The knee is a vulnerable joint that bears a great deal of stress from everyday activities, such as lifting and kneeling, and from high-impact activities, such as jogging and aerobics.

The knee is formed by the following parts:

  • Tibia. This is the shin bone or larger bone of the lower leg.
  • Femur. This is the thighbone or upper leg bone.
  • Patella. This is the kneecap.

Each bone end is covered with a layer of cartilage that absorbs shock and protects the knee. Basically, the knee is 2 long leg bones held together by muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

There are 2 groups of muscles involved in the knee, including the quadriceps muscles (located on the front of the thighs), which straighten the legs, and the hamstring muscles (located on the back of the thighs), which bend the leg at the knee.

Tendons are tough cords of tissue that connect muscles to bones. Ligaments are elastic bands of tissue that connect bone to bone. Some ligaments on the knee provide stability and protection of the joints, while other ligaments limit forward and backward movement of the tibia (shin bone).

What are some common knee problems?

Many knee problems are a result of the aging process and continual wear and stress on the knee joint (such as, arthritis). Other knee problems are a result of an injury or a sudden movement that strains the knee. Common knee problems include the following:

  • Sprained or strained knee ligaments and/or muscles. A sprained or strained knee ligament or muscle is usually caused by a blow to the knee or a sudden twist of the knee. Symptoms often include pain, swelling, and difficulty in walking.
  • 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 can often occur with sprains. Treatment may involve wearing a brace during an activity to protect the knee from further injury. Surgery may be needed to repair the tear.
  • Tendonitis. Inflammation of the tendons may result from overuse of a tendon during certain activities such as running, jumping, or cycling. Tendonitis of the patellar tendon is called jumper’s knee. This often occurs with sports, such as basketball, where the force of hitting the ground after a jump strains the tendon.
  • Arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis that affects the knee. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative process where the cartilage in the joint gradually wears away, and often affects middle-age and older people. Osteoarthritis may be caused by excess stress on the joint such as repeated injury or being overweight.Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect the knees by causing the joint to become inflamed and by destroying the knee cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis often affects persons at an earlier age than osteoarthritis.

How are knee problems diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for knee problems may include the following:

  • X-ray. A diagnostic test that uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body; can often determine damage or disease in a surrounding ligament or muscle.
  • Computed tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan). A diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce horizontal, or axial, images (often called slices) of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.
  • Arthroscopy. A minimally-invasive diagnostic and treatment procedure used for conditions of a joint. This procedure uses a small, lighted, optic tube (arthroscope), which is inserted into the joint through a small incision in the joint. Images of the inside of the joint are projected onto a screen; used to evaluate any degenerative and/or arthritic changes in the joint; to detect bone diseases and tumors; to determine the cause of bone pain and inflammation.
  • Radionuclide bone scan. A nuclear imaging technique that uses a very small amount of radioactive material, which is injected into the patient’s bloodstream to be detected by a scanner. This test shows blood flow to the bone and cell activity within the bone.

Treatment for knee problems

Specific treatment for knee problems will be determined by your doctor based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and medical history
  • Extent of the disease, injury, or condition
  • Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • Expectations for the course of the disease, injury, or condition
  • Your opinion or preference

If initial treatment methods do not provide relief, and X-rays show destruction of the joint, the orthopaedist may recommend total joint replacement for the knee.



Blue Ridge Orthopaedic & Spine Center has on-site state-of-the-art technology to diagnosis and treat orthopaedic conditions. Both of our offices are equipped with in-office radiology departments. Not only does this facilitate rapid diagnosis but it is also convenient for patients who may be experiencing pain or disability at the time of their visit. To schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified and fellowship trained physicians, call our Warrenton office at 540-347-9220 or our Gainesville office at 703-743-2814.


Online Medical Reviewer: Kolbus, Karin, RN, DNP, COHN-S 
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional’s instructions.

Is Arthroscopy the Right Choice for you?




Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure used to examine and often treat damaged joints.  The benefit of an arthroscopy over conventional open surgery is that the joint does not have to be completely opened up.  This article from KRAMES staywell (,P00903) tells us the joints most frequently examined by arthroscopy, what arthroscopic surgery entails and conditions commonly associated with arthroscopy.

Joints frequently examined –

  •  Shoulder
  • Wrist
  • Ankle
  • Hip
  • Elbow
  • Knee
  • Spine

What does arthroscopic surgery commonly entail –

  •  General, local, or spinal anesthetic is dispensed
  • Small incision is made in the patient’s skin
  • Arthroscope (Small tube that consists of lenses, video, and light) is inserted through the incision
  • Other incisions may be made to introduce other small grasping, probing, or cutting tools
  • Corrective surgery, if required, may be executed during the initial diagnostic procedure
  • Bandages or dressings may be applied to the postoperative area

Conditions most commonly found with arthroscopy


  • Inflammation in the lining of the knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist or ankle
  • Injuries – Rotator cuff tendon tears, impingement syndrome, frequent dislocations in the shoulder, cartilage tears, wearing or injury of cartilage cushions, and ligament tears with instability in the knee
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrist
  • Pieces of loose bone or cartilage (commonly found in the knee, shoulder, ankle, elbow, or wrist)

The benefit of an arthroscopy over conventional open surgery is that the joint does not have to be completely opened up.  Only two small incisions are made – one for the arthroscope and one for the surgical instruments to be used in the knee cavity.  Having arthroscopic surgery significantly reduces recovery time and less scarring occurs than with a typical open surgery.  In most cases arthroscopic procedures can be done on an outpatient basis.

At Blue Ridge Orthopaedic and Spine Center, we recognize that painful joints can interfere with your sleep, limit daily mobility, or keep you from participating in activities you love.  If managing your joint pain is no longer working, our team of joint replacement specialists can help by replacing all or part of your problem joint.  Please contact a joint specialist today @ 540.347.9220 (Warrenton location) or 703.743.2814 (Gainesville location).  Be sure to visit for more information on the comprehensive services offered by Blue Ridge Orthopaedic & Spine Center.  Our Goal – Get YOU back to GOOD health!

Protect Your Knees!



As we get older, years of stooping, kneeling and everyday activities catch up with our knees.  Women believe it or not, are more susceptible to knee pain as they are the weaker-kneed sex.  Studies show women are 6 times more likely than men to suffer from knee injuries.

In this article from see these great tips to reduce your pain.

Stiff or creaky knees – Patellofemoral syndrome (runner’s knee) can cause creaks, grinding, popping, and achiness during climbing or even after sitting for a long period of time.

  • Try this – If you normally do high impact workouts like running, playing tennis, reduce activity (don’t stop altogether or the muscles that support your knees will lose strength) and add less strenuous exercises such as swimming and yoga.  Also, it’s important to wear the proper workout shoes and if the soles are worn be sure to get a new pair so that your arches and joints are adequately supported.

Aching knees – If you feel a sharp pain between your kneecap and shinbone, you may have tendonitis which happens when the tendons connecting your kneecap to the shinbone become swollen and inflamed due to repeated pressure and overuse.  Symptoms tend to occur when you increase frequency or intensify your activities.

  • Try this – Take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen to ease pain and decrease swelling.  It’s important to ice, rest and evaluate your knee, especially after a workout.  Ask your doctor about patellar tendon straps which relieve pain by taking pressure off the tendon.  If pain continues or worsens, see your doctor.

Swollen and inflamed knees/difficulty straightening or bending of the knee – When the cartilage that pads our joints is reduced to bone on bone, osteoarthritis occurs which in turn causes swollen, inflamed and extremely painful joints.

  • Try this – According to one study, losing just 11 lbs. can take pressure off your knees and reduce arthritis by 50%.  Add anti-inflammatory drugs, rest and ice can completely alleviate the pain.  If your knee becomes red or feels warm to the touch, see your doctor, who may opt to drain the excess joint fluid with a needle.  Fact – about 25% of people who suffer from osteoarthritis will require knee-replacement surgery.

Knee pops and then buckles, causing extreme pain – (This usually occurs while playing sports) The anterior cruciate ligament known as ACL, an elastic band of tissue that stabilizes the knee, tears.

  • Do this – See your doctor right away!  About 1/3 of those who injure their ACL recapture strength and motion after 6 to 8 weeks of rest and physical therapy.  If the kneecap remains unstable, arthroscopic surgery may be required.  Practice exercises that strengthen your hip and butt muscles to help stabilize knees and reduce your risk of ACL injuries.

To schedule an appointment with the joint replacement specialists of Blue Ridge Orthopaedic & Spine Center please call 540.347.9220 (Warrenton location) or 703.743.2814 (Gainesville location) and don’t forget to visit for me information on the comprehensive services offered by Blue Ridge Orthopaedic & Spine Center.

What is Prepatellar Knee Bursitis?



Prepatellar bursitis is an inflammation at the front of the knee that is often caused by trauma to the knee.  A bursa is a tiny sac that is filled with fluid.   Prepatellar bursitis swells the knee and can be tender to touch.  Prepatellar bursitis frequently occurs to individuals whose professions require frequent kneeling.  Non-septic prepatellar bursitis is most often treated with rest, ice, and anti inflammatory drugs, especially ibuprofen.  Elevation of the leg while resting has proven a speedier recovery time.  Severe prepatellar bursitis may involve surgical drainage and removal of the bursa.

Signs you might have a bursitis –

  • Stiffness or ability to move the knee like normal
  • Fever
  • Swelling
  • Redness or warm to the touch

If you find yourself suffering with a joint ailment, Blue Ridge Orthopaedic and Spine Center’s joint specialist’s can help.  We recognize that painful joints can interfere with your sleep, limit daily mobility, or keep you from participating in the activities you love.  If managing your joint pain is no longer working, let our team of joint replacement, pain management, and physical therapists help.  Our goal is to get YOU back to GOOD health.  Contact one of our specialists @ 540.347.9220 (Warrenton location) or 703.743.2814 (Gainesville location) to schedule an appointment or visit us at  for more information!

Don’t Let Knee Pain Prevent you from Living LIFE to the Fullest!



Knee pain is a widespread complaint for many people.  Who would think a small joint like the knee could produce such debilitating pain?  There are several factors that can cause knee pain such as arthritis, runner’s knee, bursitis, tendinitis, ligament sprains and tears, meniscus tears, bone fractures, and gout.

Healthy Knees

A healthy knee joint bends easily.  Cartilage, a smooth tissue, covers the ends of the thighbone and shinbone and the underside of the kneecap.  Healthy cartilage absorbs stress and allows the bones to glide freely over each other.  Joint fluid lubricates the cartilage surfaces, making movement even easier.

A Problem Knee

A problem knee is stiff or painful.  Cartilage cracks or wears away due to usage, inflammation, or injury.  Worn, roughened cartilage no longer allows the joint to glide freely, so it feels stiff.  As more cartilage wears away, exposed bones rub together when the knee bends causing pain.  With time, bone surfaces also become rough, making the pain much worse.

Understanding Knee Replacement

A knee prosthesis lets your knee bend easily again.  The roughened ends of the thighbone and shinbone and the underside of the kneecap are replaced with metal and strong plastic components.  With new smooth surfaces, the bones can once again glide freely.  A knee prosthesis does have limitations, but it can help you walk and move with greater comfort.

At Blue Ridge Orthopaedic and Spine Center, we recognize that painful joints can interfere with your sleep, limit daily mobility, or keep you from participating in activities that you love.  If managing your joint pain is no longer working, our team of joint replacement specialists can help by replacing all or part of your problem joint.  Please contact our joint specialists7 @ 540.347.9220 (Warrenton location) or 703.743.2814 (Gainesville location) to schedule an appointment and please visit our website @ for more information on the comprehensive services we offer.