Knee injuries can be the result of an injury accident, such as a work-related accident, vehicle accident, sports injury, fall, or other cause of a direct blow or sudden movement. In 2003 alone, over 9.5 million people sought medical attention for knee problems.
The function of the knees, the largest joints in the body, is to provide flexibility and stability to the body. To carry out these important functions, the knees contain bones, cartilage, muscles, ligaments and tendons, any of which may be affected by a knee injury.
Cartilage works to protect the bones, which form the knee joint, from rubbing against each other. The knee joint is the junction of three bones, the patella (kneecap), femur, and tibia. Ligaments, strong elastic bands of tissue, connect the bones. Tendons, also strong cord-like tissue bands, connect the muscles to the bones. The muscles work to bend and straighten the knee joint. They also help to support and protect the knees. Any of these parts of the knee can be damaged in a knee injury.
Common Knee Injuries
Common knee injuries can include cartilage or menisci injuries, ligament strains, tendon tears, patello-femoral pain syndrome, and more.
Cartilage Injuries and Meniscus injuries
- Chondromalacia, also called chondromalaciapatellae, is a knee cartilage injury that commonly affects young adults as a result of injury, overuse, misalignment, or muscle weakness. This knee injury involves the softening of the kneecap’s articular cartilage. An injury or blow to the knee, such as in a vehicle accident or sports incident, can cause a small piece of the cartilage to break off or a fracture in the bone.The most common knee injury symptom of Chondromalacia is a dull pain in the kneecap area, which gets worse with downhill walking or walking down stairs.Knee injury treatment for this condition can include low impact exercises (such as swimming), electrical stimulation, and surgery.
- Meniscus injury: One of the most common knee injuries is a torn or split meniscus. The menisci are strips of cartilage that bolster the kneecap on both sides. Severe impact or twisting, as in a traumatic accident, and weight bearing activities are common causes of menisci knee injuries.Knee injury symptoms of a meniscus injury can include localized swelling, pain, and the inability to straighten out the knee joint. A meniscus injury can range in severity depending on the extent of the tear or split.Knee injury treatment for a meniscus injury will depend on the nature of the patient’s injury. For a minor meniscus tear, muscle strengthening by way of exercise and/or physical therapy may be most effective. For more serious knee injuries, arthroscopic or open surgery may be required.
Patello-femoral pain syndrome
Abnormal movement, as in a traumatic injury, can result in a condition called patello-femoral pain syndrome, characterized by localized pain behind the kneecap. This pain often increases with long periods of sitting still, walking up or down stairs or hills, and squatting. Patello-femoral pain can come gradually with time. Knee injury treatment for this condition can include rest, the use of anti-inflammatory medications, ice applications at 10 to 20 minute intervals throughout the day, special exercises and physical therapy, knee sleeves or braces, and surgery.
Knee Ligament Injuries
Stretched or torn knee ligaments are a common source of knee injuries. Two sets of ligaments, the cruciate and collateral ligaments, are responsible for providing stability to the knee. The cruciate ligaments—the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)—are found inside the knee joint, connecting the tibia and femur bones.
- ACL injury: The ACL can be torn or stretched due to a sudden twisting movement, landing from a jump or fall, direct contact in a traumatic accident, or a rapid change of direction. ACL tears are common knee injuries.Symptoms of an ACL injury may not include immediate pain. Patients often experience a popping noise and/or a buckling of the affected leg. After the first two to twelve hours, swelling and pain may develop.Early treatment may include icing and elevating the knee until you can visit your doctor. ACL injury treatment can be non-operative or operative. Non-operative treatment can include a knee brace and muscle strengthening via physical therapy. Arthroscopic or open surgery, followed by physical therapy, may be required to repair the ACL.
- PCL injury: A PCL injury, less common than ACL injury, is often the result of a direct blow to the knee because of a traumatic accident or fall. The shinbone may sag backwards due to this injury, compromising the joint’s stability. Non-surgical or surgical treatment options exist for treating PCL injuries, depending on the symptoms and severity of this knee injury.The collateral ligaments—including the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and lateral collateral ligament (LCL)—are located on the inner and outer sides of the knee joint, respectively.
- MCL injury: The MCL is more easily injured than the LCL. Symptoms of this knee injury can include a popping sound and knee buckling. Physical blows can cause this knee injury.
- LCL injury: An LCL injury is characterized by knee instability, swelling, and/or pain. High pressure on the knee joint, as in a fall or accident, can cause this knee injury.
Treatment for collateral ligament injuries can involve conservative treatments for incomplete tears, including Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE). A brace and special exercises may be advised. Rehabilitative physical therapy and/or surgery may be required in more severe cases.
Knee Tendon Injuries
A tendon, which connects the bones and the muscles of the knee, may tear with overuse or a traumatic injury or fall. Tendonitis is another condition affecting the knee tendons. Other knee tendon injuries include Osgood-Schlatter Disease and Iliotibial Band Syndrome.
Knee injury symptoms for a ruptured tendon can include a popping sound in the knee, severe pain, bruising, weakness, and reduced functioning and/or mobility. X-rays and an MRI are often used to diagnose a knee tendon injury. Bracing is a non-surgical treatment option for a ruptured tendon affecting the knee. If the tear is complete, surgery will typically be required to repair the torn tendon.
Knee muscle injuries
Muscle strains in the knee area can also constitute or aggravate a knee injury. The quadriceps and hamstrings, which both connect to the knees via tendons, can be strained, thus contributing to or causing knee injury.
Other types of knee injury
Other types of knee injuries include arthritis, osteochondritis dissecans, and plica syndrome.
Knee injury compensation
If you have suffered a knee injury due to an accident caused by another party or a work-related injury, you may be able to obtain compensation for your losses and suffering. Please contact the knee injury lawyers at The Oshman Firm to learn more about your legal rights and options.
Contact us today at 1-800-400-8182, or contact us online for a free case evaluation. Our firm utilizes the contingency fee system, where we not only provide free consultations, but never charge a fee unless we are successful in obtaining a settlement or jury verdict on your behalf.