When talking about knee injuries, it can get complicated as it is a very complex joint. It is quite similar to a door hinge that allows many movements that we take care of for granted. Like bending, straightening, walking, sitting, squatting, or running. To understand common knee injuries, it is better if we look at the anatomy of the knee. The knee is composed of bones, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments.
The femur bone or thighbone sits at the top of the knee joint. The shinbone or as it is medically known the tibia is the bottom part of the knee and the patella or the kneecap is a protective mechanism that protects the bone from impact.
The cartilage acts as a protective component as it is the tissue that cushions the bones and helps the ligaments glide easily over the bones and protect them from shock and sudden impact. The 4 ligaments present in the bones act as stabilizing ropes that hold the knees together. The tendons connect the joint to bones in the upper and lower leg.
When Do I Need to See A Doctor?
The 10 common knee injuries are as follows
Fractures are the most common form of a knee injury. Any of the bones mentioned earlier could be compromised and broken. However, the most common bone that is broken is the kneecap. This is especially true in cases of a fall and car accident that causes knee fractures. If you have a pre-existing health condition like osteoporosis, then you might be more vulnerable to a knee injury. Physiotherapy for knee pain as well medications can help bring back normal functionality.
- ACL Tears
ACL or Anterior cruciate ligament injuries are quite common and range in terms of severity from grade 1 to grade 3. This ligament runs diagonally in the front of the knee and provides an important form of stability. Although a grade 1 injury can be easily cured by physiotherapy for knee pain and exercises, grade 3 pain needs immediate surgical intervention as it refers to a complete tear of this ligament. Improper landing, jumping is quite common in contact sports, and footballers commonly injure their ACLs.
- Dislocation of the Knee
This happens when the knee bone pops out of the socket and is out of the proper placement and is incorrectly aligned. This can happen to several bones due to car accidents, traumas, or contact sports. It can also happen due to structural abnormalities.
- Meniscus Injury
Cartilage injuries are referred to as meniscal tears. The meniscus is the rubbery components of the cartilage that are present between the femur and the shin bone. These may tear during intense sporting activities, or gradual decaying due to aging and degenerative diseases. Physiotherapy for knee pain, along with movement correction can help with this. When this happens, you can hear a pop in the knee accompanied with pain and swelling.
This is a common consequence of wear and tear injury. So if you are involved in an occupartion or sports that requires repeated motion of your elbows, then you are susceptible to this disease. Just like your cartilage, there is other protective mechanism in your bones, muscles and tendons. Bursa are tiny fluid filled sacs that help cushion the movements of your bones and joints. They prevent friction and let skin easily slide over the bone. When these get affected, they swell up and cause pain. Physiotherapy for knee pain along with rest can cure most cases of bursitis. However, due to fluid build-up, in some cases, aspiration and anti-biotic treatment are also necessary.
Tendons are the connecting tissues that attach the muscles to the bones. This is a common overuse disorder that causes strains and swelling around the knee. It mostly occurs due to overuse and repeated intense movements of the knee, mostly if there is a lot of force and pressure exerted on the knee. If you are playing a contact sport or playing on a concrete court, then this might be a reason behind your knee pain.
- IT Band Syndrome
The IT band or as it is medically known- the iliotibial band is a protective tissue that helps people to bend their knees. It runs along from the hip to the knee. So if you feel pain after squatting, it might be because of an injury to the IT band. It becomes inflamed and swollen and causes pain between joints while bending. It is recommended that you stretch after exercises so as to prevent and avoid this syndrome.
- Tendon Tears
Tendons as mentioned earlier connect the muscles to the bones. The most common tendon injury to the knee includes the patella. This usually happens to athletes, and people belonging to the senior age population to experience these tears and overstretch their tendons. A fall or a high impact can also cause a tear.
- Ligament Tears
This tear usually happens to the ligaments that help connect the femur to the shinbone. This type of injury is very common for athletes involved in a contact sport. Regular physiotherapy for knee pain along with icing and massage can help recover from this injury.
- PCL Injuries
Posterior cruciate ligament injuries or PCL is when the ligament as the back of the knee is affected. This ligament also connects the femur to the shin bone and regulates movement in the shinbone. This injury happens due to high impact due to a bent position and or when takes a fall while their knee is bent.
Also Read: How to Strengthen Knees for Running?
Head on to Phyt Health, India’s first digital physiotherapy platform offering online physiotherapy services and consultations. With a wealth of knee exercises present on their website, you can include them in your daily life depending on your comfort level. All these exercises are curated by expert physiotherapists at Phyt Health. You can also book your online video consultation on the app, to discuss any issues you might be facing and begin your journey towards recovery!