What are the Different Methods of Knee Repair? (with pictures)

Jeri Sullivan
Jeri Sullivan
A person wearing a knee brace.
A person wearing a knee brace.

Knee repair refers to any correction performed to bring the knee joint back into working order. The most common types of knee injuries are sprains, torn meniscus, tendinitis, fractures, and dislocations. The different methods of knee repair include RICE, knee arthroscopy, physical therapy, and knee replacement.

As most athletes can attest, sprains are a sometimes unavoidable result of playing sports. Whether from twisting while your foot is planted or landing wrong from a poorly timed jump, a sprained knee must be tended if the athlete wishes to continue competing. For simple sprains, doctors prescribe RICE, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Sprain sufferers should minimize the movement and apply ice packs until the swelling subsides. Keeping the knee wrapped in a compression bandage and elevated will also speed recovery time.

A diagram of the knee.
A diagram of the knee.

If the injury is more severe, different methods of knee repair should be used. Since the knee is made of bones, cartilage, muscles, tendons, and ligaments, an injury to any one of these may require knee repair. The doctor may prescribe a knee arthroscopy to determine the exact area of concern. A specialist, known as an orthopedist, makes a small incision and inserts an arthroscope into the knee joint.

Doctors prescribe RICE, which stands for (r)est, (i)ce, (c)ompression, and (e)levation, for simple sprains.
Doctors prescribe RICE, which stands for (r)est, (i)ce, (c)ompression, and (e)levation, for simple sprains.

A camera on the end of the arthroscope spotlights the injured area, and often the orthopedist can repair the injury at that time. Arthroscopy is often used to repair torn meniscus and the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which is the ligament responsible for connecting your femur to the tibia and controls forward motion. Though there are different methods of knee repair, the arthroscopy reduces recovery time because the surgery is minimally invasive.

Different methods of knee repair often require physical therapy.
Different methods of knee repair often require physical therapy.

Often, different methods of knee repair still require physical therapy. Physical therapy is used in conjunction with arthroscopy to rehabilitate the knee. The physical therapist trains the patient to perform strengthening exercises. As the muscles get stronger, the physical therapist will also work to reduce joint stiffness and pain by using exercises designed to increase the range of motion. Most patients who work with a physical therapist tend to get back to their activities sooner than ones who don't because they learn exercises that make them stronger.

For more serious injuries, different methods of knee repair are required. Knee replacement surgery is used for severe osteoarthritis sufferers. Arthroplasty, or knee replacement surgery, involves removing the damaged bone and cartilage and replacing it with an artificial joint made from metal alloys, plastic, and polymers. The artificial joint works the same way a natural joint does and reduces the strain from cartilage and bone scraping against each other.

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    • A person wearing a knee brace.
      A person wearing a knee brace.
    • A diagram of the knee.
      A diagram of the knee.
    • Doctors prescribe RICE, which stands for (r)est, (i)ce, (c)ompression, and (e)levation, for simple sprains.
      Doctors prescribe RICE, which stands for (r)est, (i)ce, (c)ompression, and (e)levation, for simple sprains.
    • Different methods of knee repair often require physical therapy.
      Different methods of knee repair often require physical therapy.