Seven Of The Most Common Knee Injuries

Seven Of The Most Common Knee Injuries

The National Institute of Health (NIH) estimated that 6.7 million knee injuries resulted in a trip to an emergency department in the United States between 1999 and 2008.

Common reasons for a knee injury were often the result of participating in sport and other recreational activities.

Knee injury while running.

The NIH found that knee injuries was the most common sporting injury amongst teenage athletes that required a visit to the emergency department.

You can reduce the risk of knee injuries by making sure that you…

  • Stretch carefully before and after taking part in exercise
  • Wear a good pair of comfortable shoes
  • Keep fit, healthy and active

Seven Common Knee Injuries

Here are seven most common knee injuries that you should be aware of.

1. Fractures

Fractures are the partial or complete breaking of a bone. The bones of the knee are comprised of the three bones - the patella, the tibia and the femur. A fracture to the knee is typically the result of a strong force to one (or more) of these three bones that make up the knee. The patella bone (kneecap) is the most commonly broken knee bone.

The symptoms of a fractured knee can include swelling, tenderness, sharp pain and possibly a misshapen knee.

2. Dislocations

A dislocation is when the bones of the knee are no longer sitting correctly in the right place.

A dislocation occurs when the bones are partly or fully out of alignment with each other.

One common type of dislocation is when the kneecap slips out of place.

Dislocations often occur as a result of direct force such as sports and vehicular accidents.

The symptoms of a dislocated knee can include swelling, tenderness, pain, a kneecap that has moved sideways and the inability to straighten the leg.

Knee dislocation x-ray,

3. Sprains

Ligaments are the soft tissues that connect two bones together. Sprains occur when a ligament is damaged. The two most common types of knee sprains are to the Anterior Cruciate Ligaments and the Posterior Cruciate Ligaments.

The Anterior Cruciate Ligaments (ACL) are the ligaments at the front of the knee, while the Posterior Cruciate Ligaments (PCL) are the ligaments at the back of the knee. A sprain occurs when a ligament is either over stretched or torn.

The symptoms of a knee sprain can include aching pain, stiffness, as well as sometimes pain in other parts of the leg. Often when the sprain first occurs a popping sound may be heard.

4. Strains

Tendons are the tissue that connects the muscles to the bones. Strains are the result of damage to muscles or tendons.

The symptoms of knee strain are similar to the symptoms of sprains (above) although there can also be muscle spasming, cramping and/or muscle weakness.

5. Tendonitis

Tendonitis is often caused by regular overuse of a tendon, such as found in repetitive strain injuries (RSI). The regular overuse of the tendon results in it becoming tender and inflamed. Tendonitis of the knee can be found in athletes who participate in sports that involve a lot of regular jumping, such as basketball or tennis.

The symptoms of tendonitis usually see the pain getting progressively worse when participating in the activity that aggravates it, as well as swelling in the general area of the knee.

6. Anterior Knee Pain

Anterior knee pain occurs in or around the kneecap for a variety of reasons.

Commonly found in teenagers, especially girls, it is not always obvious why it occurs.

There can be several possible reasons for anterior knee pain including poor flexibility, excessive exercise and being overweight.

The symptoms of anterior knee pain are experienced as a dull ache near the kneecap. Some people report feeling a grinding when the knee is being bent.

Anterior knee pain.

7. Meniscal Injuries

Meniscal tissue lies between the bones making up the knee, so as to act like a shock absorber for the knees. Meniscal tissue can tear as a result of being tackled or from excessive twisting.

The symptoms of a meniscal tissue injury are swelling and pain in the knee, as well as reduced movement and the knee joint locking up.

Knee Injury Treatment

In the event of a knee injury you should consider visiting a doctor or other medical professional promptly. To help make sure that they can treat your injury accurately you will want to give them the following information.

What Were You Doing At The Time You Injured Your Knee

  • Was/is there any pain?
  • If there was pain was it aching, burning, sharp, shooting or intense?
  • Did you hear a pop or snapping sound?
  • Can you put weight on it?
  • Have you had any knee injuries before?

The best treatment for knee injuries (depending on how severe they are) is to use the R.I.C.E. treatment.

  • R = Rest the knee - Try not to put too much weight on the knee in order to give it time to heal.
  • I = Ice - In the event of swelling put an ice pack on it as soon as possible. Frozen vegetables or ice cubes (in a sealed plastic bag) will suffice as a makeshift ice pack if you don’t have one sitting in your freezer.
  • C = Compression - Sometimes wrapping the injured knee in a bandage can help to control the swelling as well as provide support for the knee.
  • E = Elevation - By raising the leg (and with it the damaged knee) you are forced to take weight off the knee and also slightly reduce the blood flow through the knee. This can help with reducing the swelling and possibly the pain.

In order to manage the pain, you can use an “over-the-counter” pain medication however it is important to remember that pain is the body’s way of saying something is wrong.

In the event of a minor knee injury, you may want to begin doing gentle exercises within one to two days to help with strengthening the knee however be careful not to aggravate the injury.

Gnetle exercise for knee injury.

If you have any doubts or concerns make sure that you see a medical professional promptly.


Knee injuries are a common part of life. Do what you sensibly can to prevent an injury from happening but if a knee injury does occur, then consider seeing a medical professional for advice, unless it’s sufficiently minor to not worry about. Ultimately the choices you make when you have an injured knee may very well determine if it will ever fully heal.


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