Mercy Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Kamala Littleton Discusses Diagnosing And Treating Knee Pain
Dr. Kamala Littleton, Director, Mercy's Orthopedic Program for Women
Knees are one of the biggest joints in the body and take quite a beating over a lifetime, especially on women, but there are things to do to try to keep knees healthy.
According to Stacy Hoffman, she’s glad to be getting around these days after a skiing accident grounded her earlier this year.
"I had a searing sensation in the interior part of my leg, and then I heard and felt a pop," she explained. "I knew that my knee was damaged badly."
Ms. Hoffman had suffered a detached ACL or anterior cruciate ligament, one of the four major ligaments of the human knee.
Mercy orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kamala Littleton noted that ACL injuries like Ms. Hoffman's are more common in women than men.
"Women tend to straighten their quadriceps a little bit more than their hamstrings. Women land a little bit stiffer with their legs straighter than men, and there are theories that this is actually a hormonal component as to whether or not women have more injuries," she said.
Dr. Littleton added that it's possible to prevent injuries by keeping your weight under control, eating a healthy diet and doing exercises that strengthen the muscles and ligaments in the knee -- but don't overdo it.
"The most important thing you can do is a gradual increase in your activity. If I go out and run 15 minutes today, and it felt great, I ought not go out and run 30 minutes tomorrow. I should go 20 minutes," Dr. Littleton said. "If I felt pretty good running up a flight of stairs, it's not a great idea to run up 10 flights of stairs the next day, and that's where we run into problems."
Ms. Hoffman had surgery and said her injury has taught her to listen more to her body's signals and not to push herself when she feels tired.
"I'm doing significantly better. It's a long road," she said.
Ms. Hoffman added that she’s grateful to the state's donor program because it enabled doctors to use a human tendon to repair her ACL.
Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit www.mdmercy.com, MDMercyMedia on Facebook, Twitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.