Knee Pain

Knee pain is a common occurrence among adults and older people, affecting people of all age groups. It can result from various causes such as injuries, medical conditions like arthritis and infections, or general wear and tear from everyday activities like walking, bending, standing, and lifting.

While self-care measures can help alleviate minor knee pain, you may necessitate medical attention in severe and persistent cases to address the underlying issues.

Dr. Ulric Bigby, a proficient orthopedic surgeon, provides comprehensive care to address knee pain. His expertise includes a range of treatments, including surgical and non-surgical options.

Knee Anatomy

The knee is the body's largest joint and consists of four primary components: bones, ligaments, cartilage, and tendons.

  1. Bones: The knee joint is formed by the intersection of three bones—the femur (thighbone), tibia (shinbone), and patella (kneecap).
  2. Ligaments: The knee has four main ligaments that connect bones. The collateral ligaments govern lateral movement, and the cruciate ligaments control the backward and forward motion of the knee.
  3. Cartilage: The knee contains two types of cartilage. Articular cartilage covers the ends of the femur and tibia and the back of the patella. It facilitates smooth gliding of knee bones during leg movement. The meniscus (meniscal cartilage) works as a shock absorber between the shinbone and thighbone.
  4. Tendons: Tendons connect the muscles to bones, contributing to the overall stability and functionality of the knee.

Causes of Knee Pain

Many factors can contribute to knee pain, prompting a visit to your doctor or orthopedic specialist. Knee pain can have different causes, including injuries and underlying medical conditions.

Knee Injuries

Knee pain may sometimes result from a strong impact, such as a fall, sports injury, or a vehicular accident. Different types of mild or severe knee injuries can result in knee pain, including:

  • Sprains and strains: A sprained knee ligament  or strained muscle tendon or typically happens due to a blow to the knee or a sudden twist.
  • Cartilage injury: Trauma to the knee can cause tears in the menisci, leading to pain inside or outside of the knee joint. Cartilage tears can accompany sprains. 
  • Torn Ligament: Injuries to the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) can lead to bleeding into your knee, swelling, and pain. 
  • Dislocation or fracture: A fracture or dislocation can lead to severe knee pain and swelling. 
  • Patellar tendinitis: Overuse of a tendon during certain activities, such as running, jumping, or cycling, can lead to inflammation or injury in the tendon. 

It's crucial to receive a proper diagnosis and seek professional treatment to prevent potential complications in the future. 

Underlying Conditions

In the absence of a specific injury, persistent knee pain can indicate an underlying degenerative or chronic condition. These include:

  • Arthritis, a widespread condition affecting millions globally, can lead to chronic pain, stiffness, and joint inflammation. 
  • Osteoarthritis, or degenerative arthritis, is a wear-and-tear condition where knee cartilage deteriorates with use and age.
  • Gout occurs when uric acid crystals build up in the joint. While it commonly affects the big toe, it can also manifest in the knee.
  • Knee bursitis is inflammation of a fluid-filled sac situated near your knee joint.
  • Avascular necrosis is the death of bone tissue due to limited blood flow.
  • Osteomyelitis is a bone infection caused by bacteria or other germs.
  • Osgood-Schlatter disease is the painful swelling of the bump on the upper part of the shinbone, just below the knee, which happens commonly in adolescents.

If your knee pain is severe and starts interfering with your regular activities or sleep, it requires prompt medical attention.


The location and intensity of knee pain can differ based on the cause and underlying issue. Common signs and symptoms associated with knee pain include:

  • Swelling and stiffness in the knee
  • Redness and warmth upon touching the knee
  • Weakness or instability in the knee
  • Popping or crunching noises
  • Inability to completely straighten the knee


The diagnosis of knee pain includes:

  • Physical examination includes signs of swelling, pain, bruises, and the range of movement in your lower leg.  
  • Imaging tests of your knee based on your symptoms and conditions. The tests may include X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and ultrasounds to reveal injuries to soft tissues like ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and muscles.  
  • Lab tests for blood tests are conducted in case of inflammation and injections. 


There are various nonsurgical and surgical treatment options available for addressing knee pain.

Non-surgical Treatments

  • Knee Braces provide support and stability to your knee, holding it in place. It may be suggested to stabilize the joint and help in pain relief.
  • Medications can be used to manage knee pain and inflammation. Injections of corticosteroids, hyaluronic acid, or platelet-rich plasma directly into the knee joint can help relieve symptoms of other knee conditions.
  • Physical Therapy includes exercises and movements tailored to address your specific condition. It can effectively reduce knee pain, whether dealing with arthritis or recovering from an injury.

Surgical Treatments

Surgical intervention and knee surgery are recommended if non-surgical treatments fail to bring relief or if the knee pain is severe. These include:

  1. Arthroscopic Surgery repairs joint damage using a fiber-optic camera and specialized tools inserted into small incisions. 
  2. Meniscectomy involves trimming the meniscus through tiny incisions using an arthroscope.
  3. ACL reconstruction removes damaged ligaments and graft segments of the tendon from other parts of your knee or a donor.
  4. Partial Knee Replacement is a less invasive option to replace damaged knee portions with an artificial joint through small incisions, leaving healthy bone intact. 
  5. Total Knee Replacement involves removing the damaged bone and cartilage from the thigh bone, shinbone, and kneecaps and replacing them with artificial joints.

The treatment would depend upon the severity and cause of your knee pain. 

Treatment of Knee Pain in Maryland

Whether your knee pain is a minor discomfort or a severe issue, seeking medical guidance is crucial. 

Persistent knee pain can hinder your daily activities. Dr. Ulric Bigby is a top-rated orthopedic surgeon who can diagnose your knee pain and provide comprehensive treatment options. 

Schedule your consultation online or get in touch with Dr. Bigby at one of his three locations:

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