Overview: The ACL (short for anterior cruciate ligament) is one of four ligaments in the knee that provides stability, allowing the knee to flex and extend. Typically, the ACL tears when the foot is firmly planted in place and the knee locks and twists or pivots at the same time, making them common in sports like football, basketball, soccer, and gymnastics.
Symptoms: An audible “pop” in the knee, intense knee pain, swelling, a loss of range in motion
Average Recovery Time: 6-9 months
Overview: Located on the inside of the knee, the medial collateral ligament (MCL) connects your tibia (shinbone) to the top of the bottom of the femur (thighbone). MCL tears typically occur after an exterior blow to the knee (often during contact sports) or when landing after a jump. Most MCL injuries heal on their own and do not require surgery.
Symptoms: An audible “pop” in the knee, intense pain, stiffness, swelling, the knee catches or locks when moving
Average Recovery Time: A few days to 8 weeks
Overview: The menisci are two discs of soft cartilage located between your tibia (thighbone) and femur (shinbone) that act as your knee’s shock absorbers. Meniscus tears often occur as result of abrupt movements like pivots, stops, turns, squats, or lifts, which makes tennis and basketball players particularly susceptible.
Symptoms: A popping sensation, stiffness, swelling, knee pain while turning, twisting or pivoting
Average Recovery Time: 1-3 months
Overview: In sports, the kneecap (patella) often dislocates or shifts out of place as a result of a direct hit to the knee or from a sudden twist or pivoting of the leg.
Symptoms: A buckling of the knee, the kneecap slides off to the side, pain, stiffness, cracking or creaking in the knee
Average Recovery Time: 6-16 weeks
Overview: The patellar tendon connects the bottom of the kneecap (patella) to the top of the tibia (shinbone). Patellar tendonitis—also known as Jumper’s Knee (a common injury in basketball and volleyball players)—occurs when the patellar tendon becomes inflamed, often as a result of overuse, excessive force, or repetitive stress on the knee.
Symptoms: Pain, tenderness, swelling, or a burning sensation in the kneecap;
Average Recovery Time: A few days to several months
Overview: The bursa is a small fluid-filled sac located near the knee joint. Knee bursitis occurs when the bursa becomes inflamed, often as a result of an injury to the knee or, more commonly, overuse from frequent kneeling.
Symptoms: The knee feels warm, tender, or swollen when pressure is applied.
Average Recovery Time: 2 to 8 weeks