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The knee is one of the body’s largest joints, and it’s a complex part of the physique that often takes a serious toll under the impact and demand of sports. Knees are susceptible to many types of injuries, from fractures, sprains, tears, dislocations, and other injuries. If you’ve experienced a knee injury, we can help.

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Common types of knee injuries 

The injuries below are the most common types of knee injuries. Dr. Porter has significant expertise and experience working with athletes who have suffered a knee injury, including any necessary surgery, physical therapy or other therapies required to get you recovered and back to full activity again.

ACL Injuries

The ACL is the ligament at the center of the knee. The ACL controls knee rotation and the forward movement of the shin bone. The ACL can be torn or sprained from a sudden stop or change in direction, jumps, landings, or other sudden moves. Torn ACLs are common in sports such as skiing, basketball, football, cheerleading, soccer, and other high-impact sports. ACL tears typically require reconstructive surgery . Recovery will take about nine months.

Signs of an ACL injury

  • On impact, a loud pop or snap
  • Sudden and severe pain
  • Bruising and swelling
  • Knee instability
  • A loose feeling in the joint
  • Knee buckling toward the outside

Dr. Porter Discusses Common Injuries in Young Athletes

Injuries In Young Athletes with Dr. David Porter

Cartilage/meniscus tears 

The meniscus is a crescent-shaped pad of cartilage that absorbs the shock of impact to the knee. Meniscal tears are a very common knee injury, usually caused by a sudden twist or change of direction, deep squat, heavy lifting, or serious sports trauma. Rest, ice, compression and elevation can help reduce pain, and prompt medical attention is crucial. Physical therapy can help strengthen the muscles around your knees and legs to build stability and support the knee joint. A specially-designed knee brace can also be helpful. However, persisting pain, knee locking and other problems with the knee may require surgery. Recovery will take between 2-3 months.

Signs of a meniscus injury

  • Pain on the medial or lateral side of the knee
  • Locking and clicking sensations
  • Swelling or stiffness
  • Inability to fully extend or bend the knee joint
  • The feeling of your knee “giving way”

With proper surgery and/or physical therapy, many athletes can return to their sports after a meniscal tear. However, once this type of damage is done, the knee can rarely return to the full strength it once had.

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Patellar Fracture

Patellar fractures are serious knee injuries that occur from a direct fall onto the kneecap, overuse, or trauma (a blow from another player, hockey stick or similar). If the amount of stress is more than what the bone can handle, it can result in a fracture. These types of injuries can vary depending on the location, severity and type.

Signs of a patellar fracture:

  • Pain
  • Bruising and swelling, which may be severe
  • Inability to bend or straighten the knee 
  • Inability to hold the leg out straight.
  • Inability to bear weight on the knee or walk

Kneecap fractures can be minor, simple fractures, or more complex concerns. Complicated patella fractures may require surgery. Rehabilitation after a kneecap fracture and/or surgery helps to improve range of motion, build and restore muscle strength, and decrease knee stiffness. Recovery can take several months.

Knee dislocation or instability (patellofemoral instability) 

This type of knee injury involves a dislocation or shift in the kneecap, causing pain when you stand up and resulting in a feeling that the knee may buckle or give way.  

Signs of a knee dislocation

  • Severe pain
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Visible deformity 
  • Loss of knee function
  • Numbness 
  • Partial paralysis below the dislocation due to pressure on the nerves 

In the case of a partial dislocation, non-surgical treatments may adequately reduce pain and swelling and help restore function, such as pain medications, a brace, rest, ice, physical therapy, and other treatments that can be used to help restore function. 

If the knee is completely dislocated, the kneecap needs to be repositioned back in its 
proper place. Surgery is sometimes needed to help realign the kneecap.

After surgery, a brace or splint and crutches are needed for about a month. Physical therapy is required for 3-6 months to regain full athletic function, with full recovery at about 6 months after surgery.

When is knee surgery required?

Dr. Porter believes all conservative options and treatments should be explored and exhausted before undergoing surgery. He will work with you closely, fully understand and diagnose your concerns and pain, and apply different treatments to help achieve normal physical function and reduce pain, while avoiding surgery. However, if he ultimately determines that surgery is indicated as the proper treatment for you, Dr. Porter will perform minimally invasive surgery to eliminate your knee pain and concerns and regain your normal knee function.

During arthroscopic knee surgery, Dr. Porter uses a miniature camera and tiny instruments to repair tears and other injuries of the knee. Because only small incisions are required, there is a faster recovery time that involves less pain.

Recovery after knee surgery

Recovery time varies from patient to patient depending on the complexity of the surgery required and the damage the knee sustained. In many cases, the surgery can be done with local anesthetic, allowing you to return home the same day that your surgery takes place.

To achieve full healing, recovery may include anywhere from 4-9 months. However, for less complex procedures, you should be able to bear weight on the knee immediately after surgery. You will need crutches for 2-7 days after your surgery. Physical therapy and rehabilitation will begin after 1-2 weeks. More strenuous work or sports will be restricted for at least 4-6 weeks. 

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A more complicated knee surgery will require that your knee be completely immobilized for two weeks once the procedure is complete. Your motion in the following two weeks will be limited, but physical therapy will start immediately. While your knee is immobilized, you will be able to bear your weight on it using a brace. 

Most patients will be able to walk with crutches for 4-6 weeks after surgery, and can return to light work 1-2 weeks after surgery. Most patients can return to sports or more strenuous activities anywhere between 4-9 months after surgery, depending on the knee injury and what was required in the surgical procedure. 

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Why choose Dr. David Porter?

Athletes or others who have suffered a knee injury deserve a highly experienced, board-certified doctor who understands your active lifestyle and knows how important your mobility and ability to plays sports are to you. Dr. David Porter is a board-certified, highly trained orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine issues such as knee pain and injuries. With an impressive training background, including a fellowship in sports medicine focused on minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques for the treatment of sports-related injuries, he has been the doctor for professional hockey, football, and basketball teams. Known for his friendly professionalism and outstanding outcomes with his patients, he is an ideal choice for anyone requiring knee surgery. 

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