Knee Conditions and Treatments

SIU School of Medicine - anatomy of the knee jointThe knee is the largest joint in the body, and one of the most easily injured.  It contained ligaments which control motion and brace the joint against abnormal types of motion, and cartilage which serves as cushioning to absorb shock during motion.  Most knee ligament and cartilage injuries can be corrected with arthroscopic surgery. click on image for a larger view

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Sprain

When you twist or fall on your knee, the stabilizing ligament connecting the thighbone to the shinbone can tear.  Like a braided rope, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) unravels when torn and will not heal on its own.  Fortunately, minimally invasive arthroscopic reconstructive surgery can restore full function after an ACL tear.

Collateral Ligament Sprains

In addition to the ACL, the knee has three other major ligaments.  Two of these are called “collateral ligaments” as they run on either side of the knee joint.  The medical collateral ligament (MCL) and lateral collateral ligament (LCL) are commonly sprained.  They usually do not require surgery to heal.

Torn Cartilage

When people talk about torn knee cartilage, they are usually referring to a torn meniscus, rubbery cartilage which acts like a shock absorber.  Treatment may include icing, rest, pain relievers and physical therapy.  Arthroscopic surgery may be needed to correct the condition and restore normal joint movement.

Articular Cartilage Injury

The thighbone and shine bone which connect at the knee are each covered in articular cartilage on their ends.  Injury to these surfaces can result in osteochondral injury such as chonromalacia or arthritis.  This has many treatment options, including transplant.

Osgood-Schlatter Disease

Osgood-Schlatter Disease is a condition common in adult youth or adolescents.  It occurs in the front of the knee, where the tendon from the thigh muscles comes down and attaches to the shinbone.  This involves inflammation called apophysitis.

Knee Treatments

Meniscal Transplant

This cutting-edge procedure involves transplantation of new meniscus into your knee from allograft/cadaver tissue.

Arthroscopic Surgery

The SIU Shoulder & Sports Medicine surgeons are experts in minimally invasive surgical techniques including arthroscopic surgery of the knee. 


Joint viscossupplementation involves the injection of hyaluronic acid to allow for increased lubrication and cushioning of the knee joint.  This is especially useful in the case of knee cartilage loss or osteoarthritis.