The knee is a complex structure comprised of numerous muscles, tendons, bones and cartilage, collectively forming a joint. The knee joint bears the weight of our entire body when we walk or run, and therefore, is prone to injuries. Fractures and dislocation of the knee can be easily identified by the pain and swelling of the joint; however, less severe injuries, such as sprains and soft tissue tears are not as easy to diagnose. This blog post discusses the signs and symptoms of seven common knee injuries and the ways to identify and treat them. Let’s begin!
Types of Injuries
The patella is the most common bone in the knee that is prone to injury. However, the ends of the larger bones, tibia, and fibula, which form the joint could also fracture. Such injuries happen as a result of intense trauma such accidents and falling from notable heights.
The dislocation of the knee joint occurs when the bones forming the joint are forced out of place, either partially or completely. Misalignment of the patella, tibia or fibula as a result of intense trauma in automobile collisions, sports and falls can cause complete dislocation of the bones.
3. Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries
Soccer, football, and basketball players are more prone to injuries of the ACL. Tearing of the ligament occurs when changing direction rapidly or impactful landing after jumps, along with injuries to the articular cartilage or meniscus in the knee.
4. Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Injuries
Injuries to the posterior cruciate ligament often occur as a result of impact to the front of the knee, when it is in the bent position. Accidents and contact sports are the primary reasons for PCL injuries. Posterior cruciate ligament injuries are, however, not typically severe and the ligaments are capable of self-healing.
5. Collateral Ligament Injuries
Injuries to the collateral ligaments are commonly caused by lateral forces that drive the knee sideways. Direct blows to the outer part of the knee can cause injuries to the medial collateral ligament, whereas impacts to the inside of the knee that push the knee outwards may injure the lateral collateral ligament.
6. Meniscal Tears
Athletes who participate in contact sports are prone to such injuries. Meniscal tears occur when the knee joint is subjected to twisting, pivoting, cutting, or tackling. Arthritis and aging can also contribute to meniscal tears.
7. Tendon Tears
Stretching and tearing of the patellar and quadriceps tendons can be painful. Such tears are common among the middle-aged people who participate in activities such as running or contact sports. Awkward landing from a jump, and falls from significant heights can also cause mild to severe injuries to the tendons.
Symptoms of Knee Injuries
Common signs and symptoms of knee pain could be-
- Hearing a pop sound at the time of an injury
- Having severe pain in the knee joint and surrounding area
- Inability of move the knee
- Inability to bear weight on the knee
- Inflammation at the site of the injury
Many of the symptoms can be treated through the RICE methodology i.e. rest, ice, (gentle) compression, and elevation. Many knee injuries and problems could be improved through simple measures, such as:
- Immobilization, wherein patients, have to wear a brace to prevent any knee movement. Patients would have to wear casts and use crutches in the case of fractures.
- Physical therapy wherein specific exercises help in restoring the functioning of the knee and strengthen the surrounding muscles of the leg.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines such as aspirin and ibuprofen may also provide relief from knee pain and reduce knee pain symptoms such as inflammation.
In addition, a doctor also considers the age, severity of the injury, general health and activity level of patient before deciding the treatment options.
Orthopedists resort to surgical procedures once they have exhausted all possible treatment options. Often fractures and multiple ACL tears need to be treated by surgical procedures such as arthroscopic surgery using minimally invasive instruments and small incisions. Many injuries, however, require traditional open surgery, with larger incisions and total or partial replacement of the knee joint.
Though there are several possible remedies and surgical options to help alleviate knee problems, patients need to consult a doctor as soon as they notice any of the symptoms we have discussed in the post. If you have been experiencing any of the symptoms it could be a sign that your knee joint is vulnerable to further damage. To book an appointment with one of our consultants, simply call +1-888-608-4762 or fill out our online booking form.