The knee is a complicated joint because it moves like a hinge on a door. It allows you to bend your knee and straighten your leg. This allows you to sit, squat, jump, run and more.
The knee is made up of bones, cartilage, ligaments and tendons. The femur, or thighbone, is the top of the knee joint. The shinbone, or tibia, is the bottom. The patella, or the kneecap, is the joint that covers the area where the shinbone and thigh bone meet. The cartilage is a cushion that protects the joint from impact, allowing ligaments to slide over the bones and further protect them from impact.
As a Baltimore, MD knee pain therapy specialist like one from LeMoine Physical Therapy can explain, there are four ligaments in the knee that are similarly acting to ropes, which hold the bones together and stabilize them. Tendons that connect the muscles in the lower and upper leg.
While there are many types of injuries, these are some of the most common.
Most Common Knee Injuries in the Knee
- Anterior cruciate ligament injuries (ACL)
- Meniscal tears
- Tendon tears
- Collateral ligament injuries
- Iliotibial band syndrome
- Posterior cruciate ligament injuries
Fractures can happen to any bone, and are caused by falling, a car accident or some other trauma. Any of the bones around the knee can be fractured, but the most commonly broken joint or bone is the patella or the kneecap.
Anterior cruciate ligament injuries, otherwise known as ACL injuries, is the injury of a ligament that runs diagonally down the front of the knee. It provides stability to critical joints. Injuries to the ACL can require surgery. ACL injuries have a grade scale of one to three for how mild to severe they are. A one on the scale is a mild sprain, and a three is a complete tear. This injury occurs in athletes, or anyone who is landing improperly from a jump or changing direction quickly.
Dislocation is when the knee is out of place, and the ligaments and bones are not aligned properly. One or more of the knees bones may slip out of place, and the most common causes of this are falls, accidents, structural abnormalities and trauma.
Meniscal tears are what people are most often referring to as “torn cartilage”. The menisci are semi-rubbery wedges of cartilage between the thigh bone and shinbone. These cartilages can tear suddenly during activities, or even slowly due to aging.
Bursitis is the name of small fluid-filled sacs that cushion the knee joints and allows the tendons and ligaments to slide over the joint. These sacs can swell and become inflamed because of overuse or repeated pressure from kneeling. Most bursitis cases aren’t serious and can be treated by self-care.
Tendonitis is inflammation of the knee. Specifically, the patellar tendon is at risk for tendonitis as it works the front of the thigh to extend the knee. This means that the tendon is in charge of jumping, running, and performing other physical activities.
Tendon tears, collateral ligament injuries, iliotibial band syndrome and posterior cruciate ligament injuries are all potential knee injuries as well, with differing treatments to the above. If you feel that you’ve suffered a knee injury and require help for it, reach out to a knee pain specialist.