Knee injuries are one of the most common injuries that a patient will go to see a doctor, with doctors seeing around 10 million patients on average for this each year. The reason for this high number of ailments is due to the complexity of the knee and the number of components, making it a more likely target for injury.
Common Knee Injuries
In most types of knee injury, the symptoms will be pain and swelling around the knee joint, and due to the complex nature of this joint, often more than one component will be involved in injury. The knee is the largest joint in the body, made up of four main elements: Bones, cartilage, tendons and ligaments.
The most common fracture point is the knee cap (patella), as well as the commonly injured femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone) where they meet the joint. The majority of these fractures come from a high impact trauma including a hard fall or car accident or something similar.
A dislocation is what occurs when any of the bones in the knee are pushed out of place, whether fully or only partially. When this occurs, it could be that the femur or the tibia is knocked out of alignment or more seriously, the patella can come out of place. Similar to the fracture, often these injuries come from a high impact fall or car accident, in addition they can be sports-related injuries or the structure of a person’s knee can cause such dislocation.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries
This commonly occurs in sports-related activities, such as soccer, football and other such intense sports. The ACL will tear if a sudden change in direction or a poor landing after a jump happens, causing severe pain. The majority of these injuries occur alongside other knee injuries.
Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
This ligament is located behind the knee and often occurs due to hard impact to the front of the knee, whilst the knee is bent. These types of injuries often occur in sports events and in car accidents, but unlike the ACL injuries, can often heal on their own.
Collateral Ligament Injuries
Injuries to the collateral ligaments are usually caused by an impact that forces the knee sideways, often in sports activities where the knee may be struck by blunt force, pushing the knee from the inside outwards. These injuries are rarer than others.
These tears most often occur with sports involving tackling, twisting or pivoting. These tears can also be experience as a result of arthritis, for example, a sharp twist of the knee can cause such a tear if the menisci have weakened with age.
The quadriceps (just above the knee) and the patellar tendons (just below) can tear quite easily. It is possible for anyone to tear these tendons, but more likely in middle-aged adults. This injury is usually caused by falls onto the knee or awkward landings during sports activities.
Treatment for Knee Injuries
Since there are so many components to the knee, and an equal number of possible injuries with varying levels of seriousness, it is important to seek early medical attention to make sure you get the necessary treatment.
Learn more about Knee Injuries and Disorders and their treatment on the Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Institute (OSMI) website.