5 Common Knee Injuries and Treatments

The knee joint may suffer damage during almost any activity, even sitting down. Here’s what you need to know about the five most common knee injuries, and their treatment.

Meniscal Tears

The meniscus is a thin cartilage rim that cushions the knee joint. The meniscus may become torn or ruptured in an athletic or other injury, causing pain, swelling, tenderness, and a limited range of motion.

Meniscus tears do not often heal by themselves but respond quite well to physical therapy and other conservative treatments. Arthroscopic surgery may be necessary in the most severe tears.

ACL Injuries

The ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) is one of the four important ligaments that stabilize the knee. The ACL may get torn due to a sudden shift of force or direction, as in sports injuries. A partial or complete tear causes pain, swelling, instability in the knee, and, a popping sound in the knee.

While partial tears in less active patients can be treated conservatively, active patients who suffer from partial or complete tears need arthroscopic surgery to regain knee joint function.

Fractures

Three bones – the thigh bone, the shin bone and the kneecap – together make up the knee. Any of these bones can break during a fall, a car accident, or indirect trauma. A fractured bone can cause heavy pain, severe swelling, and difficulty walking.

Stable fractures can heal by themselves within several weeks or months once set in a cast. But displaced fractures require surgery to reset the bones. In both cases, recovery requires an extensive physical therapy program to strengthen the joint and regain the full range of motion.

Dislocations

The kneecap or patella may become dislodged from the groove at the bottom of the femur. This is referred to as dislocation and can be caused as a result of an acute or chronic injury. It causes severe pain and swelling and restricted motion.

Many patellar dislocations can be stabilized with rest and bracing but a repeatedly dislocated kneecap may require surgery.

Tendon Tears

The patellar tendon is the tissue responsible for connecting the thigh muscles to the patella. It allows you to flex and straighten your knee. It may become ruptured due to a sudden, strong force, and tear upon a fall or an awkward landing.

Partial tears can be treated conservatively with a brace and physical therapy. But a full tear will require surgery.

Both athletes and non-athletes can suffer from a knee injury. If you’re suffering from acute or chronic knee pain, it’s time to consult an experienced orthopedic surgeon to help you recover completely.

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