Knee pain is one of the most frequent complaints evaluated by orthopedic surgeons. It encompasses a broad range of pathology and can present in a variety of ways. Most of this pain can be attributed to essential structures of the knee, incluDing the menisci, cruciate or collateral ligaments, and articular cartilage. However, there are underrecognized structures in and around the knee that can frequently be a cause of knee pathology and pain. Knee pain stemming from these structures may be missed or incorrectly diagnosed, and these patients often present for second and third opinions because of failure to diagnose and treat the underlying pathology. The synovial plica, suprapatellar pouch, lateral retinaculum, infrapatellar fat pad, and infrapatellar branch of the saphenous nerve are less common but still significant causes of knee pain. Although initial treatment involves various nonoperative modalities, operative treatment is often warranted. Operative and nonoperative management of these soft tissue structures may occur in isolation or with concomitant procedures, incluDing knee ligament reconstruction, total knee arthroplasty, tibial tuberosity osteotomy, or lysis of adhesions. With proper recognition of the role of these structures in knee pain, the orthopedic surgeon can offer a valuable primary or adjunctive treatment option for patients with knee pain, especially those without localizing signs of meniscal, ligamentous, or cartilage damage.
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