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Treatment Options for Knee Pain

Knee pain can affect people of all ages. It can be caused by an injury, such as a torn ligament or damaged cartilage, or as a result of a medical condition, such as arthritis. Knee pain can often result in discomfort, aching and soreness. Providers with Altru Orthopedics & Sports Medicine offer a wide range of personalized treatment options for knee pain and injury.

Conditions Altru Treats

Arthritis in the Knee

Arthritis causes inflammation in a joint that limits its mobility. Osteoarthritis of the knee is the most common type of arthritis that affects the knee joint. This condition causes the cartilage in the knee to gradually wear down, leaving the bones with little protective tissue. Without the cartilage, the bones rub together and may cause painful bone spurs.


  • Inflammation
  • Pain

Risk factors:

  • Misalignment of joints
  • Older age
  • Overweight or obese
  • Previous injury

Bursitis in the Knee

Bursitis occurs when a bursa—a tiny, fluid-filled sac that cushions the bone in the knee—becomes inflamed.


  • Pain
  • Swelling

Risk factors:

  • Conditions such as arthritis, gout, thyroid disease and diabetes
  • Infection
  • Repeated stress on joint

Tendinitis in the Knee

Tendons connect muscles to bones. Tendinitis in the knee, also known as jumper’s knee or patellar tendinitis, occurs when these tendons become swollen, inflamed or lose elasticity.


  • Pain below the kneecap, especially during activity
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling

Risk factors:

  • Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes
  • Injury
  • Older age
  • Overuse of tendon

Knee Ligament Damage

Ligaments are bands of tissue that connect bones to other bones. Although the ligaments in the knee keep the joint strong, they can experience damage from overuse or injury. There are four main types of knee ligaments: anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), medial collateral ligament (MCL) and lateral collateral ligament (LCL). Athletes often experience knee ligament damage resulting from sports injuries.

Signs and symptoms:

  • A “popping noise” after injury
  • Discomfort while putting weight on leg
  • Grinding feeling in kneecap
  • Pain
  • Swelling

Risk factors:

  • Lack of physical conditioning before sport

If you are experiencing severe symptoms or your pain is a result of a traumatic injury, initial care should be received through Altru’s emergency room.

Treatment Options for Knee Pain at Altru

Treatment will vary depending on what is causing your knee pain. Whether you are suffering from an injury, such as an ACL tear, or a mechanical problem, Altru Orthopedics & Sports Medicine offers personalized treatment options to meet every patient’s needs. From arthroscopic surgery to repair tendons or ligaments, to full knee replacement through Altru’s Joint Replacement Center, our orthopedic surgeons will work with you to determine your individual care plan.

Nonsurgical Treatment

If you are experiencing minor knee pain, you may find relief from self-care methods. Your provider may recommend following the RICE method—rest, ice, compression and elevation—to reduce inflammation. Physical therapy and bracing can also be beneficial. Speak with your provider or physical therapist to determine the treatment options that are best suited for you.

Surgical Options

ACL Reconstruction

Patients with an ACL tear have the option to receive minimally invasive ACL reconstruction with the Arthrex® GraftLink® technique.

Mako™ Robotic-Arm Assisted Partial and Total Knee Replacement

Altru Orthopedics & Sports Medicine offers partial and total knee replacement with the advanced technology of the Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery system. Mako partial knee replacement is a treatment option for adults living with early to mid-stage osteoarthritis that has not yet progressed to all three compartments of the knee. It is less invasive than traditional total knee surgery. Mako total knee replacement is a treatment option for adults living with mid to late-stage osteoarthritis of the knee.

For both options, the Mako system creates a 3D model of the patient’s anatomy, enabling surgeons to develop a presurgical plan that customizes implant size, positioning and alignment specific to each patient’s needs. The Mako Robotic-Arm then assists our surgeons during the procedure, ensuring incredible accuracy in placement with minimal damage to healthy tissue and allowing for a more natural-feeling knee. 

This minimally invasive technique can help patients return to an active lifestyle. Benefits of knee replacement with the Mako system may include:

  • A small incision with minimal damage to healthy tissue
  • Extremely accurate anatomical placement
  • Less pain
  • Minimal blood loss during the procedure
  • Motion in the knee that feels more natural
  • Quick recovery

Your surgeon will work with you to determine if partial knee replacement utilizing the Mako system is right for you, or if a different option suits you best.

If you are experiencing knee pain, schedule an appointment by calling 701.780.7700 or online through MyChart.