Type of Knee Injuries
Knee injuries can stop you in your tracks. The human knee, like other joints, is a complex structure that does such an amazing and complex job so well that we can often take for granted the job it does.
Just imagine walking or running with your knees, or sitting, or getting out of bed in the morning, or many other things we love to do like cycling or dancing. The knee is made up of cartilages, bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles, fluid and other tissues all arranged in alignment to give the complex movement and activities that it produces.
A background to knee injuries
Most knee injury is due to trauma, which can commonly due to sports but can be due to accidents, blunt force trauma, etc. However, there are other causes such as infections, inflammation and tumours. The commonest symptoms of knee injury are pain, swelling, and instability (feeling like your knee is giving way). You may also feel or hear a popping or snapping when the injury happens. Also, you may find it difficult to put your full weight on the injured leg.
The different types of knee injuries
The most common type of knee injuries is to the ligaments, which are there to help to keep your knee stable by holding the bones together.
The cruciate ligaments, the Anterior (ACL) and Posterior (PCL) Cruciate Ligaments, lie inside and form a cross shape inside your knee, which gives them their name.
They help keep you knee stable by controlling its forward and backward movement. ACL injuries usually happen when you twist your knee, for example if you land on your leg then turn quickly and are common in basketball or football.
ACL injuries can be quite serious. PCL injuries can happen if you fall on your knee when it is bent, for example when your knees hit the dashboard of a car during an accident.
The collateral ligaments which include the Medial (MCL) and Lateral (LCL), help to limit the amount your knee can move from side to side.
Problems to the MCL tend to occur when there is excessive movement outwards, and injuries to the LCL happen mainly with forceful inward movement.
Cartilage injuries involve a tear in a meniscus and are also quite common. When people say they have a “torn cartilage” this is what they usually mean.
These injuries usually result from twisting, like in basketball or football, or repeated impact from running, tennis or from skiing.
Tendon injuries usually result from regular running or impact in sports that require a lot of jumping.
The knee tendons commonly injured are the quadriceps tendon. These tendons connect your kneecap (patella) to the anterior thigh muscles (quadriceps).
The patella tendon which connects the patella to the femur is often referred to as a ligament (jumper’s knee).
Managing knee injuries starts with identifying the cause of the injury and then selecting the best treatment.