Knee Pain and Injury
Knee pain is a common problem that can be a result of an injury, a genetic or structural condition, or a condition that has developed over time such as osteoarthritis.
Our expert care team treats people of all ages who are experiencing knee pain, which means we can quickly identify the cause of your pain and design the best plan for getting you back to the life you love.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it may be time to see one of our specialists:
Significant knee pain, especially if from an injury or that doesn’t go away over time
Instability or a feeling of your knee “giving out”
Inability to straighten your knee
A snapping, crunching, or popping sound in your knee,
Swelling of the knee, joint or calf area
Redness or warmth in the knee area
These symptoms, no matter how mild, are signs that something is wrong with your knee joint. And if left untreated, knee problems can worsen and may put you at risk of lasting issues.
University of Iowa Health Care’s orthopedic experts treat many conditions and injuries that cause knee pain. We routinely help people who:
Have persistent or acute knee pain from a variety of causes
Have sports- or exercise-related injuries such as a dislocated knee, torn meniscus, or anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear
Have moderate to advanced osteoarthritis and are interested in a knee replacement or nonsurgical options such as regenerative medicine to treat pain associated with severe joint damage
Require advanced care such as meniscus transplant, cartilage repair, or osteotomy
Regardless of your age or activity level, you can count on our team for treatments that help you feel and function better.
Cartilage regeneration and repair
When your knee cartilage is damaged by an injury or mild arthritis, it can’t heal by itself (it doesn’t have a direct blood supply). But thanks to specialized surgical techniques—including osteochondral allograft transplants and microfracture surgery—we can repair or restore small areas of cartilage.
Cartilage repair is usually reserved for people under 40 years old who want to stay active but are too young for a knee replacement.
This procedure is an option for some people with early osteoarthritis who have joint damage on one side of the knee.
During an osteotomy, your surgeon cuts and reshapes one of the two bones that make up your knee joint. This shifts your body weight away from the damaged side of the knee to the healthy side of the knee.
It can improve your pain and help your knee function much better.
The meniscus is a type of cartilage that helps cushion and stabilize your knee joint. Any damage to the meniscus can cause pain and, eventually, osteoarthritis.
You may be eligible for a meniscus transplant if:
You're under 40 years old
Most of or all your meniscus is severely damaged or has already been removed
During this procedure, we replace your meniscus with tissue from a donor. For many people, a meniscus transplant significantly reduces pain and slows (or stops) arthritis progression.
A national leader in knee research
Our orthopedic surgeons and sports medicine physicians are also researchers. Through ongoing studies, we aim to improve long-term outcomes among people treated for knee pain or injuries.
For example, we lead studies to confirm the safety and efficacy of different nonsurgical and surgical treatments and techniques. We also analyze data to determine if certain treatments are better suited for different people based on their age, condition, and other factors.
A federally funded collaboration
We’re among a handful of U.S. medical centers selected to take part in the Multicenter Orthopaedic Outcomes Network (MOON) Knee Group.
The MOON Knee Group is a research network funded by the National Institutes of Health. Its members, including UI Health Care orthopedic surgeons, have studied ACL injuries and treatment outcomes for decades.
Together, our efforts have uncovered the benefits and risks of various ACL treatments. We’ve helped inform national and international treatment guidelines, such as:
The best ligament graft choices to use for young athletes during ACL reconstruction surgery
Physical therapy and training techniques that are most likely to prevent additional ACL tears
Factors that help predict whether patients will need a second ACL surgery
A team approach to knee care
Many people with knee problems require care from more than one specialist.
If an underlying condition causes your knee pain, you might also need to see a provider who specializes in that condition. Or, if you’ve torn one of your knee ligaments, you might partner with experts who can repair it and help you recover.
Our team includes:
Orthopedic surgeons who perform knee replacement and reconstruction surgeries, as well as common to advanced surgical care for activity-related injuries
Physical therapists who can help you improve knee pain, recover from surgery, or increase strength and function after an injury
Sports medicine physicians who offer nonsurgical treatments such as steroid injections and regenerative medicine therapies
Experts in advanced specialty care for female athletes, endurance athletes, and bariatric joint replacement patients
Rheumatologists who specialize in treating osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, which are common causes of knee pain
Knee pain and injury tests and treatments
Physical medicine and rehabilitation
Pigmented Villonodular Synovitis (PVNS)
Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) surgery
Knee pain and injury conditions treated
Lateral collateral ligament (LCL) tear
Medial collateral ligament (MCL) tear
Patella tendon tear
Patellofemoral (PF) instability
Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) tear
Saphenous Nerve Entrapment