Disorders of the Knee Joint

Arthrosis of the Knee Joint

Arthrosis of the knee joint is caused by degeneration of the joint cartilage. The degeneration of this layer and thus its loss is also associated with impaired mobility, which is sometimes very painful. In addition to so-called predisposition in the sense of reduced ability of the cartilage to cope with strain, the mechanical stress experienced in daily life is also one of the causes of arthrosis. In addition to deviations from the axis, which may be congenital, there are also deviations that have resulted from an accident (so-called bowlegs and knock-knees). Furthermore, metabolism disorders, infections, gout, rheumatism, and damages to the inner knee (e.g., cruciate ligament injuries, chipped cartilage, and meniscus ruptures) can also damage or destroy the cartilage in the knee joint – these are but a few of the causes of knee arthrosis. In general, arthrosis of the knee, which is also called gonarthrosis, is first noticed when pain appears while walking. So-called start-up pain is typical of arthrosis. When the loss of cartilage progresses, the symptoms also increase. There is increasing pain, even when resting. As the disease causes the patient to minimize strain, the muscles also degenerate and the leg thus becomes weaker. In order to prevent untimely arthrosis of the knee joint, particular treatment strategies are considered, especially in the aftermath of an injury. After a cruciate ligament injury, for example, syndesmoplasty is necessary, which is performed in the context of an arthroscopy. It may also become necessary to perform a cartilage-bone transplant (OATS surgery), which involves moving healthy cartilage from less strained areas of the knee joint to the damaged area and vice versa. Arthroscopic lavage or correction of the leg axis may also result in relieving the symptoms for a longer period of time. If the degeneration of the knee joint cartilage has progressed severely, the patient’s quality of life is strongly impaired and, if the level of suffering is too high, an artificial knee joint becomes necessary.

If you have problems with your knee and want to be treated by us, just make an appointment in our outpatient clinic by sending us an E-Mail or calling us at 06371 84-270.

Cruciate Ligament Injuries

Like all other joints, the knee is surrounded by a joint capsule and is stabilized through ligaments. Laterally it is guided by a collateral ligament on each side (medial collateral ligament and lateral collateral ligament). The cruciate ligaments prevent the upper thigh from sliding back and forth in relation to the lower leg, and limit rotation. The anterior cruciate ligament is a bundle of fibers approx. two centimeters long and thinner than a pinky, which traverses the knee from the tibial plateau to the upper thigh.

Meniscus Damage

The menisci consist of elastic fibrous cartilage tissue. In the knee joint, there is a medial and a lateral meniscus. They are located between the joint areas of the tibia and the femur and serve to increase the surface area and the transfer of forces. Essentially, the tasks of these menisci are:

    • Shock absorption or buffer function
    • Stabilization of the joint
    • Distribution of the synovial fluid (“joint lubricant”) through a kind of wiper function 

    The menisci are thus enormously important for ensuring harmonious movement and protecting the joint cartilage. After a meniscus is removed, the strain for the joint increases two-and-a-half- to six-fold. The primary goal in the case of a meniscus injury must therefore be to preserve it, if at all possible, respectively to preserve as much of it as possible. The basic principle is to leave as much as possible and to remove as much as necessary. On the other hand, it is also true that an injured meniscus puts more strain on the joint cartilage than a partially removed meniscus. Therefore, surgery should be performed as early as possible.