Knee pain falls on a spectrum from a mild inconvenience to totally incapacitating. Depending on the cause, you may be able to walk normally or you may be unable to bend your knee at all. If you’ve experienced severe knee pain, you know how difficult it can be to go about your daily life.
Knee pain is relatively common – it’s the largest joint in the body and one of the most easily injured. It is made up of four main components: bones, articular cartilage, meniscus, and ligaments. Due to the sheer complexity of the joint, there is a multitude of injuries, all of which can vary in severity. These are 6 of the most common knee injuries:
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries
Anterior cruciate ligament injuries are likely one of the first things you think of when you think of a knee injury. ACL injuries often occur while playing sports, with the injury being more likely in sports like football, basketball, or soccer. Landing awkwardly after jumping and quick changes of direction are the main causes of an ACL injury. About half of all injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament occur along with damage to other structures in the knee, such as articular cartilage, meniscus, or other ligaments.
Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Injuries
Posterior cruciate ligament injuries are generally caused by a blow to the front of the knee while the leg is bent. This trauma is often suffered by those playing contact sports like football, or from car accidents. PCL tears are often partial and have the potential to heal without surgical intervention, but it’s always best to see a sports orthopedic surgeon to be sure!
The meniscus is formed of tough, rubbery cartilage and acts as a shock absorber between your shinbone and thighbone. Meniscus injuries often happen in sports, as tears can occur when cutting, twisting, pivoting, or being tackled. Age and, specifically, arthritis can increase your chance of a meniscus injury. Meniscal injuries can vary in severity, if you believe you’ve suffered an injury, see a sports orthopedic surgeon promptly to minimize any further knee damage.
Fractures involve a break in one of the bones in the knee joint, most commonly the culprit is the patella, or kneecap. It’s also relatively common to fracture the ends of the tibia and femur where they meet to form the knee. Fractures often occur during motor vehicle accidents and falls, but can happen in contact sports.
Knee bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa in the front of the kneecap (patella). It occurs when the bursa becomes irritated and produces too much fluid, which causes it to swell and put pressure on the adjacent parts of the knee. This condition can be caused by a variety of things, including kneeling for extensive periods of time, direct blows to the knee, and even a bacterial infection.
Patellar tendinitis, also known as jumper’s knee, is most common in athletes whose sports involve frequent jumping such as basketball and volleyball. It’s an injury that is caused by overuse and repeated stress on the patellar tendon. The stress causes small tears, but over time the tears multiply, culminating in more severe pain and inflammation, as well as a notable weakening of the tendon. As this injury is caused by overuse, if you suspect you’re suffering from patellar tendinitis, seek help from a sports orthopedic surgeon as soon as possible!
Make An Appointment With A Sports Orthopedic Surgeon
No matter the cause, knee pain can make living your life very difficult! If you believe you’ve suffered a knee injury or if you’ve been living with knee pain – call a sports orthopedic surgeon as soon as possible! OrthoManhattan is comprised of top orthopedic surgeons in their respective fields. We’d love nothing more than to get you back to pain-free living – all you have to do is make an appointment or submit a contact form in the top right corner of this page!