Knee pain

Knee pain can severely reduce your quality of life. Fortunately, it’s often treatable – and the team at Wisconsin River Orthopaedics can help you get back to a pain-free life and your regular activities.

We provide state-of-the-art diagnoses and personalized treatment plans at our office in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. Don’t let knee pain get in the way of the activities you love. Call (715) 424-1881 for more information today.

Frequently Asked Questions


What are the common causes of knee pain?

Your knees take a beating every day – they absorb one and a half times your body weight with every step you take on flat ground, and more if you’re on an incline or running. As a result, you can develop injuries or degenerative conditions such as:

  • Arthritis
  • Baker’s cysts
  • Bursitis
  • Fractures
  • Kneecap dislocations
  • Ligament tears
  • Meniscus tears
  • Patellofemoral syndrome
  • Sprains
  • Tendinitis

Knee injuries are common sports injuries. Colliding with another player or equipment, as well as rapid changes in direction and speed, increase your risk of painful knee injuries.

Your risk of knee pain is also higher if you’re overweight, lead a sedentary lifestyle, or have a physically demanding career.

When should I talk to a doctor about knee pain?

You shouldn’t ignore knee pain. Unless you have a severe acute injury and need immediate medical attention, you can try to treat your knee at home with rest, ice, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication.

If your knee pain persists, gets worse, or limits your range of motion or ability to walk, make an appointment at Wisconsin River Orthopaedics.

How is the cause of knee pain diagnosed?

The orthopaedic surgeons provide thorough exams and diagnostic testing to identify the cause of your knee pain. They begin by reviewing your symptoms, lifestyle, and medical history, before moving on to a physical exam.

Wisconsin River Orthopaedics offers in-site, open MRIs, as well as X-rays and diagnostic arthroscopy, to examine your knee. These tests provide valuable information, allowing your physician to identify and evaluate your knee issue.

How is knee pain treated?

Wisconsin River Orthopaedics provides customized treatment programs to relieve knee pain and repair joint damage. Depending on your needs, they may recommend conservative treatments such as physical therapy, anti-inflammatories, or joint injections.

In more severe cases, you might need surgical repair of torn ligaments or cartilage. Our team of surgeons also provides partial and total knee replacement surgeries if your knee is damaged or degenerated beyond the point of repair.


Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sprains are common knee injuries, especially in athletes who play physically demanding sports such as football and basketball. Specializing in sports medicine and orthopaedic surgery, the team at Wisconsin River Orthopaedics provides expert and comprehensive care for ACL injuries.

What is the ACL?

Ligaments are a type of connective tissue that attaches bone to bone. The ACL is one of four primary ligaments in your knee; it attaches your tibia to your femur. It runs diagonally in the middle front part of your knee joint, forming an X with the posterior cruciate ligament found in the back of your knee.

These ligaments allow you to move your knee back and forth and prevent the tibia from moving in front of your femur.

What are the types of ACL injuries?

At Wisconsin River Orthopaedics, the team calls all ACL injuries a sprain. However, sprains are graded based on the severity of the stretch, or tear, in the ligament.

Grade 1 sprains
With a grade 1 ACL sprain, you have a slight stretch in the ligament and no instability in the knee joint.

Grade 2 sprains
A grade 2 ACL sprain means your ligament is loose. A grade 2 sprain also means you have a partial ligament tear.

Grade 3 sprains
With a grade 3 ACL sprain, you have a complete tear in the ligament. Your ligament is split in two and you have joint instability.

How is an ACL injury diagnosed?

When you come in to see the experts at Wisconsin River Orthopaedics with complaints of knee pain and swelling, your provider conducts a comprehensive exam to determine the cause of your symptoms.

They ask detailed questions about your pain, including the cause and symptoms. Then, they examine the knee. In most cases, the orthopaedic experts at Wisconsin River Orthopaedics diagnose ACL injuries after a physical exam of your knee. To confirm a diagnosis, the team may conduct diagnostic imaging.

Wisconsin River Orthopaedics is a state-of-the-art orthopaedic practice with an on-site open MRI, allowing the team to get clear images of your knee and ACL.

How is an ACL injury treated?

An ACL tear won’t heal on its own, but surgery isn’t always necessary. Treatment for your ACL injury depends on the severity of your sprain and your lifestyle.

Non-surgical treatment like bracing and physical therapy may be recommended if you have a grade 1 sprain and lead a fairly sedentary lifestyle. The team may also take a non-surgical approach for older adults, even if they have a more severe injury.

For grade 2 or 3 sprains, the team performs ACL surgery. The surgeons can’t stitch the torn pieces back together; instead, they rebuild the ligament using a tissue graft.


A meniscus tear is a common and painful knee injury that can limit your mobility. Fortunately, these injuries are treatable, and the orthopaedic surgeons at Wisconsin River Orthopaedics can help. They offer state-of-the-art diagnosis and personalized treatment plans to repair your knee and help you get back to your regular activities.

What is a meniscus tear?

The meniscus is a C-shaped disc of rubbery cartilage located between the femur and tibia in your knee.

You have two menisci in each knee – one on each side of your kneecap. They cushion your knees, absorbing shock and prevent your bones from rubbing together when you bend or extend your knee.

A meniscus tear, sometimes called torn cartilage, is a prevalent injury, especially among athletes. However, you don’t have to be athletic to tear a meniscus. Age-related degeneration can also contribute to meniscus damage and tears. Meniscus tears are painful; your knee swells and becomes stiff. You may also have a feeling of instability or a locking sensation in your knee.

What causes meniscus tears?

Meniscus tears are prevalent sports injuries. In many cases, they’re caused by a sudden twisting motion when you pivot while running or collide with another player. Kneeling, squatting, and lifting heavy objects can also cause a meniscus tear.

As you age and your cartilage becomes dry and weak, you can tear a meniscus by getting up from a chair and inadvertently twisting your knee.

How is a meniscus tear diagnosed?

Wisconsin River Orthopaedics offers comprehensive exams and diagnostic imaging studies to identify torn menisci. After reviewing your symptoms, your physician examines your knee to check for swelling or tenderness along the joint line.

They also use the McMurray test, which means bending, straightening, and rotating your knee to put controlled tension on your menisci. Pain, clicking sounds, and clunking sensations indicate a torn meniscus.

When necessary, your orthopaedic provider may recommend an MRI or X-ray to confirm your diagnosis and evaluate the severity of your injury. For your convenience, Wisconsin River Orthopaedics has an on-site open MRI machine.

How is a meniscus tear treated?

The orthopaedic providers at Wisconsin River Orthopaedics develop personalized treatment plans tailored to address the severity of your injury.

If your tear is minor, the team may suggest starting with the rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) method, as your injury may heal on its own. You might also benefit from steroid injections, anti-inflammatory medicine, and physical therapy.

In more severe cases, you may need surgical repair. The team uses arthroscopy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure, to remove or repair the damaged tissue.
They use specialized surgical tools inserted through just a few small incisions in your knee. One of the instruments sends a live video stream to a monitor in the treatment room, allowing your orthopaedic surgeon to see inside your knee.

If you’re concerned about a meniscus tear, call Wisconsin River Orthopaedics at (715) 424-1881.