12 Most Common Knee Injuries< Back to the news
As one of the most injured body parts, the knee certainly endures some harsh treatment. Injuries involve ligaments, bone, tendons, and cartilage. Overuse, accidents, improper training, and high-impact sports sends millions of people to the hospital every year for severe knee joint pain and injury. Since the knee is made up of four components, the list of common injuries is long. Traffic accidents, falls, and sports are most often to blame, but general physical activity and wear and tear can also injure the knee.
The knee joint has three bones: the femur, tibia, and patella. In laymen terms: the thighbone, shinbone, and kneecap. A fracture is a crack in the bone. The kneecap is most susceptible to fractures, usually due to high impact trauma from a fall or car accident. Though, people with previous knee injuries or osteoporosis may fracture their knee by stepping or twisting the wrong way.
Knee dislocation normally refers to a dislocation of the knee-cap. It is quite common in contact sports, where sudden changes of direction or impact pushes the bone out of place. But, of course, car accidents and falls are likely culprits as well. Though very painful, doctors can usually realign the knee with properly applied pressure. You’ll experience some immediate relief once everything is back in place, but total recovery takes time and rest. Surgery can be necessary if physiotherapy and bracing is inadequate.
In the knee joint, cartilage serves as a cushion between the bones. The cartilages wedged between the thighbone and shinbone are called menisci. Meniscal tears can occur from a sudden movement or can tear slowly over time. So, if you play sports or are just getting older, you are at a higher risk of meniscal tears than your younger or more inactive counterparts.
Bursitis is most commonly cause by overuse or repeated pressure from kneeling. Bursae are small fluid-filled sacs that cushion the bones and provide a nice smooth surface for the tendons and ligaments to slide on. When inflamed, the sacs can build up excess fluid that causes swelling and discomfort. Rest usually does the trick, but in severe cases, antibiotics or aspiration may be required. Aspiration involves inserting a needle into the knee to withdraw excess fluid. Placing a needle into a knee doesn’t sound pleasant, but it’s not as bad as it sounds - and most importantly, it’s effective.
Tendonitis/tendinopathy in the knee is wear and tear of the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shinbone, often through overload injury. This tendon is a key component that extends the knee, for running, jumping, and such. As with most knee injuries, athletes are most at risk for patellar tendonitis, but it can be also caused by basic physical activities.
As a soft tissue, tendons are susceptible to tearing. Tendons connect the muscles to bone, so improper twisting, bending, or force to the leg can cause a tear. Overstretching is another leading cause. Age also plays a factor, where middle-aged to older individuals are more likely to tear a tendon during physical activity.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome
Iliotibial band syndrome is the bane of a long-distance runner’s existence. This thick band runs from the pelvis, around the outer thigh, and down to the bottom of the knee. This band rubs against the outside of the knee joint. So, long distance running equates to persistent rubbing, which equates to irritation. If pushed too far, runners have to hang up their trainers until the iliotibial band heals.
Ligaments are another soft tissue that are prone to injury. The knee joint consists of four main ligaments: posterior cruciate, anterior cruciate, lateral collateral, and medial collateral. Simply put, they are the two crossing ligaments in the middle of the knee; the outer and the inner respectively.
Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL):
Located behind the knee, the PCL keeps the shinbone from moving back too far. An injury is usually sustained from extreme force from the front while the knee is bent.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL):
Though many don’t know what it stands for, ACL are three well-known letters in the world of sports. Whenever an athlete hurts their knee, an ACL is at the top of the list of probable injury. A sudden change in direction or landing a jump incorrectly can tear the ACL, which frequently happens on the field or court.
Injuries to the ACL often damage other knee components as well, including other ligaments, tendons, and cartilage.
Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL):
The LCL helps stabilize the knee, keeping it from bending to the outside. A sudden change in direction or impact on the side of the knee can injure the ligament. Though not as common cruciate ligament injuries, LCL injuries frequently occur in sports.
Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL):
Like the LCL, the MCL stabilises the knee by keeping it from bending to the inside. Sudden twisting, pivoting, or being tackled can force the knee to bend inward, straining or tearing the MCL.
Treatment for Common Knee Injuries
In many cases, rest and over-the-counter pain medicine is all that is needed to treat common knee injuries. However, in more serious cases, antibiotics, physical therapy, and even surgery may be required. Even once healed, people can experience occasional or persistent knee joint pain. If your knee pain is mild, it might just be overexerted, not injured. You can first try to treat mild knee joint pain with the PRICE method: protection, rest, ice, compression elevation. If your pain persists or worsens, it’s time to go the doctor.
If you are in a lot of pain, your knee is swollen, bruised, or unstable, it is best to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Trying to “push through the pain” may result in further injury. Utilise the PRICE method until you can be seen by a doctor.
Knee Clinic Near Solihull
The Midland Knee Protect Clinic serves the Solihull and surrounding Midlands area. Our doctors specialise in knee injuries and can help ease your knee joint pain. We offer several types of treatments customised to your individual needs. Contact Us today to make an appointment.