Can Knee Injuries Be Prevented
To help prevent knee injuries:
- Be sure you wear the recommended protective equipment for sports .
- Wear supportive athletic shoes that are in good condition.
- During workouts, always warm up and cool down.
- Do regular strength training to support muscles, and stretching or yoga to improve flexibility.
- When jumping, bend the knees while landing. This takes pressure off the ACL and prevents injury.
- If you cut laterally or pivot frequently , crouch and bend at the knees and hips to reduce the chances of an ACL injury.
- If you play just one sport, conditioning and training year-round even if it’s at a lower intensity than during the competitive season can help you stay in shape and make an injury less likely.
What Are The Different Types Of Knee Injury
A knee injury can be painful to experience and recover from. Depending on the type of injury, it can take weeks to months to recover and in some cases, the knee may never be the same again. The knee itself is a joint, but surrounding the joint are muscles, tendons, and ligaments, all of which can be damaged from impact or trauma, resulting in injury.
When a knee injury is the result of stretched or torn ligaments, it is also called a sprain. There are four ligaments in the knee area connecting the femur to the tibia. An injury resulting from the tearing of one of these ligaments is categorized by the type of ligament sprain. The medial collateral ligament is found along the inside of the knee. The lateral collateral ligament is found along the outside of the knee, keeping the outer part of the knee stable. The anterior cruciate ligament connects the femur and tibia at the center of the knee and controls rotation and forward motion. An ACL injury is common in athletes. Lastly, the posterior cruciate ligament is found at the back of the knee.
A sprain may be evident by a popping or snapping noise, pain in the knee, swelling, or the inability to put weight on the leg. Similar symptoms result from strains, which is a type of injury that results from partially or completely tearing a muscle or tendon that surrounds the knee.
How Do Knee Straps Work
Patellar straps offer support to the patellar tendon. This tendon is a thick, horizontal band below the kneecap.
The straps external pressure provides several benefits:
For starters, it can reduce stress on the tendon.
This may cut pain in the kneecap area. It may also help prevent a running injury.
Another theory is that patellar straps have a proprioceptive effect.
Proprioception is a sort of sixth sense we have. It tells us where our joints are at any given time.
For example, you can probably climb stairs without thinking. You dont stop at each step to check if your leg is moving up and towards the stair, right? You just do it.
This is thanks to proprioception and patellar bands help enhance this.
This is useful in runners and running athletes in general, as it can prevent patella injuries.
There are also dual patellar bands.
One strap goes below the kneecap, the other above it. The top strap provides the same pressure and benefits on the tendon above the patella.
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Unable To Bear Weight
In some situations, you may be left unable to bear weight through your knee. Often times this is the case after a ligament sprain or a tendon strain.
Because these structures add stability to the joint and prevent excessive movement, when they are damaged you may experience shifting in the knee or giving way when you try to put pressure on your leg. The severity of the issue may impact how frequently these sensations occur.
In addition, some types of fractures can also make it very painful to put pressure through your leg. Regardless of the cause, imaging is usually appropriate to determine why bearing weight is so difficult.
Ready To Get Help For Your Knee Injuries
You dont want a knee injury to keep you from doing the things you love. This is especially true if you are an athlete who thrives on the thrill of competition. Who wants to be a benchwarmer any longer than necessary?
NJ Spine and Orthopedic provides both conservative and surgical care for knee injuries. From receiving an accurate diagnosis to undergoing a knee ligament or fracture repair, our team will guide you along every step of your treatment. Using the latest technology and treatment options, we will ensure that you recover from your knee injury so that you can get back to doing what you love most.
You know that youre itching to get back on the field or court. Why not call us today at 586-2615 for a consultation?
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Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
The anterior cruciate ligament is often injured during sports activities. Athletes who participate in high demand sports like soccer, football, and basketball are more likely to injure their anterior cruciate ligaments. Changing direction rapidly or landing from a jump incorrectly can tear the ACL. 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.
Learn more about ACL injuries:
What Causes Knee Pain
The knee is one of the most vulnerable joins in the body. If youre suffering from knee pain, the discomfort is usually attributed to injury, age, or repeated stress on the knee. This type of stress includes kneeling, lifting, and walking as well as higher impact activities like running or training.
The knee joint connects the shin bone , the thigh bone , and of course, the knee cap. Your knee is the connecting point of your leg bones, with cartilage to absorb shock from movements. Tendons, ligaments, and muscles hold everything together to keep you walking, running, swimming, etc. without damage to the legs. In a nutshell, your knee is the connector and shock absorber of the legs, protecting you from injury.
But what happens when the knee is in trouble?
Because of the knees role as connector and shock absorber, if it becomes damaged, pain is sure to follow.
Depending on your lifestyle, age, and activities, your knee pain could be caused by a number of factors. Lets go through the common types of knee pain and their causes, so you can determine how to address these underlying issues.
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What Is The Medical Treatment For A Knee Injury
More serious knee injuries require medical care.
Knee immobilization or splinting keeps the knee from moving and decreases the chance of further injury. Immobilizing the knee can help stabilize an injured knee that may not be stable due to torn ligaments. It also keeps the knee from moving to assist in resting the knee.
Chronic knee injuries involving inflammation and bursitis may be treated with anti-inflammatories. Injections of cortisone may be helpful in these situations.
More extensive injuries involving torn ligaments, instability of the knee joint, swelling, decreased range of motion, or fractures will require an orthopedic surgeon consultation. In the initial stages of these more extensive injuries, RICE therapy can still be used. Staying off the leg by using crutches or a wheelchair may be advised.
Surgery may be indicated for tears of the ligaments or extensive meniscal tears. Surgery may also be needed for fractures or dislocations of the knee. Some acute injuries such as those with high-force impact, or multiple parts of the knee damaged, may require emergency surgery.
Most knee surgery can be done by arthroscopy, a procedure in which a camera is used and small punctures are made in the knee to insert instruments. Repairs can be done inside the knee without having the open the knee with a large incision. Most arthroscopic surgeries do not need to be done immediately after an acute injury. Some are delayed to allow for decreased inflammation.
Knee Pain Due To A Torn Cartilage
The cartilage is one of the most important parts of the knee joints, protecting it against damage and ensuring its necessary lubrication.
A number of factors, including the common wear and tear process, can affect the integrity of the cartilage and increase the risk for rupture. It often happens that the functionality of the knee joint is affected by a torn meniscus, with symptoms such as inflammation, reduced range of motion and pain being part of the clinical picture.
The tear at the level of the meniscus can be partial or total, which also means that the intensity of the knee pain is going to differ.
The most common form of treatment for a torn meniscus is arthroscopic surgery; once the tear in the cartilage has been resolved, the knee pain is going to disappear and the associated symptoms are going to improve as well.
After surgery, it is advisable to undergo physical therapy; this guarantees the best recovery for the operated leg and full functionality for the patient in question.
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A Pain Behind The Knee
Bakers Cyst: Most common cause of pain and swelling behind the knee. Inflammation of the popliteal bursa.;LEARN MORE>
Arthritis: Degeneration of the knee cartilage and bones causing pain and stiffness, especially in the morning.;LEARN MORE>
ACL Tear: Injury to the anterior cruciate ligament from twisting or force through the knee. Usually associated with knee instability.;LEARN MORE>
PCL Tear: Injury to the posterior cruciate ligament – less common than ACL Injury. Typically injured in RTA, fall or sports.;LEARN MORE>
Hyperextension Injury: Where the knee bends too far backwards causing pain, swelling and restricted movement.;;LEARN MORE>
What Is The Anatomy Of The Knee
The knee is a hinge joint that has a simple purpose. It needs to flex or extend to allow the body to perform many activities, like running, walking, kicking, and sitting. Imagine standing up from a chair if your knees couldn’t bend.
While there are four bones that come together at the knee, only the femur and the tibia form the joint itself. The head of the fibula provides some stability, and the patella helps with joint and muscle function. Movement and weight-bearing occur where the ends of the femur called the femoral condyles match up with the top flat surfaces of the tibia .
There are two major muscle groups that are balanced and allow movement of the knee joint. When the quadriceps muscles on the front of the thigh contract, the knee extends or straightens. The hamstring muscles on the back of the thigh flex or bend the knee when they contract. The muscles cross the knee joint and are attached to the tibia by tendons. The quadriceps tendon is special, in that it contains the patella within its fibers. The patella allows the quadriceps muscle/tendon unit to work more efficiently. The quadriceps tendon is renamed the patellar tendon from the kneecap to its attachment in the tibia.
Bursas surround the knee joint and are fluid-filled sacs that cushion the knee during its range of motion. In the front of the knee, there is a bursa between the skin and the kneecap called the prepatellar bursa and another above the kneecap called the suprapatellar bursa .
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Treatments For Knee Injuries
With the exception of an obvious fracture or severe tear that requires knee surgery, knee injuries are often treated conservatively first with rest, compression, elevation, or anti-inflammatory medications. If those dont provide enough pain relief or progress, you may be a candidate for knee arthroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure that uses a camera to repair the injury. If knee problems become chronic, you may consider a total knee replacement.
No matter your injury or course of treatment, the experts at Alexander Orthopaedics can help. If your knee has been bothering you, schedule an appointment today.
What Is The Recovery Time For A Knee Injury
The recovery time for a knee injury depends on the type and severity of the injury. If the injury is significant enough to require surgery and/or physical therapy, the recovery time will be longer.
Simple strains or sprains can last for one to two weeks. More extensive injuries requiring arthroscopic surgery may take one to three months to heal.
Major traumatic injuries to the knee may take up to a year to heal.
Physical therapy can also speed recovery time. It is important to follow directions of your physical therapist to insure you are doing the exercises correctly and attaining the best results.
Chronic knee injuries that do not require surgery may flare up from time to time. Physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and cortisone injections are used to provide temporary relief.
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Muscle Tendon Injuries Mcl And Lcl Injuries Acl Injuries And Meniscus Tears
Muscle Tendon Injuries
Almost all of these strains are treated with ice, elevation, and rest. Sometimes compression with an Ace wrap or knee sleeve is recommended, and crutches may be used for a short time to assist with walking. Ibuprofen or naproxen can be used as an anti-inflammatory medication.
The mechanism of injury is either hyperextension, in which the hamstring muscles can be stretched or torn, or hyperflexion, in which the quadriceps muscle is injured. Uncommonly, with a hyperflexion injury, the patellar or quadriceps tendon can be damaged and rupture. This injury is characterized by the inability to extend or straighten the knee and a defect that can be felt either above or below the patella . Surgery is usually required to repair this injury.
Except for elite athletes, tears of the hamstring muscle are treated conservatively without an operation, allowing time, exercise, and perhaps physical therapy to return the muscle to normal function.
MCL and LCL Injuries
Fractures Bursa Inflammation And Patellar Injuries
Fractures of the bones of knee are relatively common. The patella, or kneecap, may fracture due to a fall directly onto it or in car accidents, when the knee is driven into the dashboard. If the bone is displaced , surgery may be required for repair, but if the bone is in good position, a knee immobilizer and watchful waiting may be all that is required.
The head of the fibula on the lateral side of the knee joint can be fractured either by a direct blow or as part of an injury to the shin or ankle. This bone usually heals with little intervention, but fractures of this bone can have a major complication. The peroneal nerve wraps around the bone and can be damaged by the fracture. This will cause a foot drop, so do not be surprised if the physician examines your foot when you complain of knee problems.
With jumping injuries, the surface of the tibia can be damaged, resulting in a fracture to the tibial plateau. The mechanism of injury is jumping and landing on a fully extended, straightened knee. Since the femoral condyle sits on the tibial plateau to make the knee joint, it is important that it heals with the most even joint surface as possible to prevent future arthritis and chronic pain. For that reason, after plain X-rays reveal this fracture, a CT scan may be done to make certain that there is no displacement of the bones. This type of fracture may require surgery for repair.
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Knee Pain Due To Fracture
Severe knee pain, associated with the impossibility of moving the respective joint, can be a sign of fracture.
Such fractures are common in those who have been in car accidents, with collision being a causative factor; they are also more common in those who have fallen or in older patients, who suffer from osteoporosis.
A single step is sometimes enough to cause such a fracture, if the bones are no longer strong and the muscles weak as well.
If a fracture has occurred, it is important to establish the type and its extent. The fracture can affect only the kneecap or it can extend to the surrounding bones; moreover, it can be open or closed.
Surgical intervention is a standard method of treatment for such fractures; if the fracture is open, then the intervention is going to be even more complicated.
Following the surgical intervention, the affected leg is going to be placed in a cast. Once the cast is removed, physical therapy will be recommended, in order to restore the functionality of the affected knee joint.
Dr Carlson Tends To Be Conservative With Surgical Treatment And Much Of His Training Is In Minimally
In some cases, knee problems can occur without being related to an injury or specific overuse. These are often due to specific knee conditions:
- Osteoarthritis: A degenerative joint disease that often develops after a previous injury. Other types of arthritis can also cause knee issues.
- Osgood-Schlatter disease: Causes pain, swelling and tenderness at the front of the knee under the kneecap, and is common in boys aged 11 to 15.
- Popliteal cyst: Also called a Bakers cyst, this leads to swelling in the back of the knee.
- Infections: In the skin , joint , bone or bursa , these can lead to pain and issues with knee movement.
- Outside issues: Issues elsewhere in the body like pinched nerves or issues in the hip can lead to knee pain.
- Osteochondritis dissecans: A cause of pain and decreased movement after bone or cartilage inside the knee joint loses blood supply and dies.
Treatment methods range from basic first aid and rest to therapy, medicine and surgery in some cases. This will depend on several factors, including the severity of your injury, location, your health and other factors. If you have a knee issue, your doctor will recommend a course of treatment.
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