Get to Know Your Knee
The knee is central to nearly every movement you make, so it’s no wonder that knee problems can have such an impact on your quality of life.
If your knee is healthy, it can comfortably bend, flex, rotate and glide. All of that normal motion should be pain-free, but arthritis and injury can cause aches and pains that interrupt your daily activities, and even interfere with sleep.
How Your Knee Joint Works
You will benefit from understanding more about the bones that make up your knee joint, and the tissues and fluids that make movement comfortable. Your knee joint is composed of three bones: the lower end of the femur (thigh bone), the upper end of the tibia (shin bone) and the patella (kneecap).
The femur, tibia and patella are connected with tissue bands called ligaments, which help stabilize your knee. Another important part of the knee is cartilage, a smooth, plastic-like lining that covers the end of the bones and allows for more flexible, nearly frictionless movement. Cartilage keeps the end of the bones from rubbing against each other, and serves as a shock absorber against forces. The menisci are cushions in the medial and lateral compartments of your knee. They also act to stabilize the knee joint and absorb load. Lastly, you have synovium, which lines your joint and creates a lubricating fluid that reduces friction and wear.
Now that you’ve learned more about how the parts of the knee work together, you’re better equipped to discuss treatment options with your doctor.
Arthritis: A Leading Cause of Knee Pain
If you are experiencing knee pain, you’re not alone, more than 46 million Americans suffer from arthritis, and more than 650,000 knee replacements are performed each year in the U.S.
Arthritis is one of the leading causes of knee pain and loss of mobility. If you have arthritis, you can more than likely blame it on the wearing away of your joint’s cartilage lining – a condition called osteoarthritis. When the cartilage goes, the three bones rub against each other, which can lead to pain and swelling.
If the cartilage wears out faster in the inner half of your knee joint, your leg can become bowed or “varus.” The deterioration of the inner cartilage may occur suddenly, but it can also take years to develop. With deterioration of inner cartilage, the ligaments on the inside of the knee shorten, and the ones on the outside stretch to accommodate the new bowed position of the leg. But the opposite may happen. When the outer cartilage wears out faster than the inner cartilage, a knock-kneed or “valgus” alignment is created.
When your surgeon corrects these problems, careful attention must be paid to the stretched or shortened ligaments. If the ligaments are not adjusted appropriately to your new artificial joint, you may have an unstable knee and the same pain and difficulty you had prior to surgery. VERASENSE assists your surgeon with balancing the ligaments and implant positioning during total knee replacement surgery.
who uses VERASENSE in knee replacement surgery.