The knee joint is one of the largest, most complex, and most important joints in the body. It connects your shinbone to the thigh bone, facilitates movement and bending, and helps support your body’s weight. Since the joint is so complex, it is susceptible to injury due to wear and tear and its vulnerable components. Here’s a closer look at some of the most common knee injuries, how they happen, and the treatment needed to address them.
The 5 Most Common Knee Injuries
1. Knee Dislocations
When the bones of the knee get out of place, this is known as a knee dislocation. This may happen after a trauma like a high-speed impact or fall. Twisting the knee with the foot firmly on the ground can result in dislocation, too. Relocation is necessary for a knee dislocation. In some cases, the kneecap will correct itself on its own. In other cases, a doctor may need to relocate the knee. After dislocation, it usually takes around six weeks to heal fully.
2. Knee Fractures
The patella, or kneecap, protects and shields the knee joint. However, if there’s a direct trauma to the front of your knee from a sports injury or a fall, then the kneecap can be fractured. Kneecap fractures are one of the most common knee injuries, and these injuries are usually treated with immobilization. In some cases, surgery may be needed to correct the problem.
3. Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries
Often referred to as the ACL, the anterior cruciate ligament is a ligament that joins the lower and upper leg bones together, stabilizing the knee. Twisting the leg or over extending the leg forward can result in an ACL tear. ACL injuries are very common and they account for around 40% of sports injuries. These injuries can range from small tears in the ACL to a complete tear of the ligament.
The treatment for ACL injuries will vary depending on the extent of injury. Some serious ACL injuries require surgery, and physical therapy is often used to help individuals return to normal activities after an ACL injury.
4. Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Injuries
Sometimes called the PCL, the posterior cruciate ligament connects the shinbone and the femur, preventing the shinbone from moving too far backwards. It’s located at the back of your knee. Landing on a bent knee or other types of trauma to the knee can result in an injury to the PCL. If the PCL alone is damaged, then nonsurgical treatment can generally be used. However, if the injury results in a PCL injury along with other injuries, surgery may be needed.
5. Meniscal Tears
The meniscus is a piece of cartilage that’s shaped like a wedge and it acts like a cushion between the femur and tibia bones that come together at the knee joint. Squatting or twisting the knee can result in a tear of the meniscus.
This injury is very common in sports that require a lot of jumping, such as soccer or volleyball, as well as contact sports that may require a quick change in direction, such as football. In some cases, degeneration that occurs with aging can result in a tear of the meniscus, particularly in individuals who have arthritis. Depending on the severity of the tear and injury, surgery may be needed.
Although knee injuries are very common, with proper treatment and the addition of physical therapy, many people are able to recover and get back to their normal activities. If you’ve injured your knee, contact our team today to see how we can help you relieve pain and improve your quality of life.