Knee injuries and problems are very common and not just for aging adults. The knee consists of bones, cartilage, meniscus, ligaments, and tendons. With so many components, treatment for injuries needs to be examined by a doctor to make sure you’re addressing the correct problem.
Types of Knee Injuries
The most common symptoms that occur when you injure your knee are swelling and pain. You may also feel like your knee is giving out on you and feels really unstable.
- Fracturing your patella is one of the most common knee injuries. Also, fractures occur where the tibia and femur meet and form the joint at the knee. A lot of knee fractures happen when there is a high impact injury, such as an automobile accident or falling from a high place.
ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) Injuries
- A common sports injury to the knee is injuring the ACL. Tearing an ACL occurs when you are abruptly changing direction or landing incorrectly from a jump. Football, basketball, and soccer are sports where ACL injuries regularly occur. You may also additional knee damage at the same time as the ACL tear occurs.
PCL (Posterior Cruciate Ligament) Injuries
- A PCL injury most commonly occurs when you sustain a hit directly to the front of the knee when your knee is bent. Car accidents and sports are the likely culprits for this injury. These tears are typically not as serious as ACL injuries and often heal without surgery or extensive treatments.
Dislocating your Knee
- Dislocating your knee means the bones of the knee are partly or totally out of place. This can happen if your knee has an abnormal structure. It can also happen as a result of a fall, car accident, or from playing high-impact sports.
Tears in your Meniscus
- High-intensity sports athletes experience tears in their meniscus because of the impacts, pivots, and sudden change of direction during the activity. Tears in the meniscus can also be a result of aging or arthritis. A simple action such as standing up from a sitting position can be sufficient in causing a tear. That is because the menisci will become weaker as you age.
Tears in your Tendon
- A tear in the patellar and quadriceps tendon is more likely to occur to middle-aged adults who participate in sports where jumping and running are involved. It happens when you fall, where there is a trauma to the front of the knee, or if you jump that does not end gracefully.
Most knee injuries, especially those that are sports related can be treated immediately using the RICE protocol. RICE is an acronym for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
- Rest — try keeping weight off your injured leg
- Ice — ice your knee several times a day for twenty minutes at a time. Use a towel as a barrier between your skin and the ice
- Compression — a compression bandage will help alleviate additional blood loss and swelling
- Elevation — this also helps reduce swelling. Elevate your leg to a position higher than your heart.
Contact a physical therapist, like a physical therapist from AmeriWell Clinics, for assistance in treating your pain. If that doesn’t help, it might be time to reach out to a knee doctor to consider other options.