I see many patients with knee injuries for all sorts of reasons. Many names are given to the variety of strains and sprains which people experience, this leads to lots of questions about what has happened. Below is some brief information about the common injuries people suffer.
Common knee injuries
Knees are most often injured during sports activities, exercising, or as a result of a fall. Pain and swelling, difficulty with weight bearing, and instability are the most common symptoms experienced with a knee injury.
In athletes, the most common acute injuries are ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and MCL (medial cruciate ligament) sprains. A sprain is the stretching or tearing of a ligament.Sprains and strains
Sprains and strains are injuries to the ligaments. The ACL and MCL are the ligaments most often injured.
These injuries usually happen in sports such as football, rugby and basketball where the knee might experience a sudden twisting motion, a rapid change in direction, or an incorrect landing from a jump.
Often a pop or a snap is heard followed by swelling. Symptoms also include tenderness along the joint line and pain with walking.
A meniscal tear generally happens during sports where the knee twists, pivots, or an individual is tackled.
Even normal wear from aging can weaken the meniscus, causing it to tear with a simple awkward turn during normal day to day activities. Symptoms of a tear are usually pain, stiffness, swelling, locking, and decreased range of motion.
A fracture is most often caused by trauma, such as falls, motor vehicle accidents, and sports-related contact. The most common bone broken around the knee is the patella.
The most common overuse injury is “runner’s knee,” a loose term that refers to several disorders, including patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS). These painful conditions are common among athletes such as runners and cyclists.
Pain is experienced behind or around the kneecap, and can travel to the thigh or shin. The pain worsens with activity and is relieved by rest.
These list emphasises how sport can cause injury and pain but it is important to remember that being inactive is equally problematic because the joint relise on movement to lubricate its surfaces to keep the tissue healthy. This means full range of movement of the joint on a regular basis with pressure changes to act like a pump so all surfaces are ‘oiled’ and remain mobile.
Although the more severe of these injuries require medical intervention often strains, sprains and overuse injuries respond well to osteopathic treatment. This is often because the pain and cause isn’t from one specific injury, although that may be the initial reason for seeking treatment, but it is a build up of compensation or changes around the knee or often elsewhere in the body.