Sports and Knees: What Can Go Wrong?
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What are the types of knee injuries that occur in sports?
The knee is a very vulnerable joint when it comes to athletic endeavors. Several structures are at risk of sudden or acute injury, while others may be prone to pain related to overuse. Here is the breakdown of the more common knee injuries in sports:
- Cartilage damage- The meniscus is the cartilage in the knee, lining the weight-bearing surfaces of the bone and providing cushioning and stability as you jump, bend, and twist. The meniscus can be torn or split partially or completely (think hangnail) from twisting or over-flexing the knee. Pain when the joint line is touched, general aching, a catching, locking, or buckling sensation, and possible swelling are the common symptoms.
- Ligament sprain- The medial and lateral collateral (on the inside and outside) and the cruciate ligaments (they criss-cross inside the joint and hold it together) are vulnerable to partial or complete rupture from a blow to the side of the leg, stepping on something (like a ball, someone's foot, or in a hole), a sudden twist (catching a ski, for example), or buckling when landing from a jump. Pain, tenderness, swelling and instability are the signs to look for.
- Tendinitis- Inflammation or chronic irritation of a tendon, usually the one beneath the kneecap (which is called jumper's knee). With tendinitis, there will be pain with active use of the involved muscle, tenderness, and sometimes swelling.
- Patellofemoral problems- The patella is the kneecap, and this problem involves the articulation between the kneecap and the bone is sits on, the lower part of the femur. If the kneecap is sitting at a strange angle or doesn't travel properly within the groove in the lower part of the femur, there will be pain. The pain usually is worse when climbing stairs, sitting, jumping, squatting, or running.
Knee problems can become chronic if not treated properly. Keep yourself in the game by getting a proper diagnosis of your injury and following a good plan for recovery.