Knee Sports Injuries

The knee is the largest joint in the human body. Knee injuries are common when participating in football, soccer, basketball, skiing and dance.

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of four ligaments that help stabilize the leg. Sports and activities that require stopping and quickly changing direction can lead to an ACL tear. Also, landing a jump incorrectly can lead to this knee injury.

Other common knee injuries include the following:

  • Meniscus tear – a sudden bend or twist in the knee can cause tearing of the meniscus cartilage, which acts as a shock absorber.
  • Patellofemoral pain syndrome (known as runner’s knee) – pain in the front of the knee is caused by repeated bending of the knee.
  • Medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury – pressure or stress on the outside of the knee can stretch or tear the ligament on the inner part of the knee.
  • Kneecap dislocation – the kneecap (patella) moves or slides out of place due to a sudden change in direction when your leg is planted or as a result of direct trauma.

Symptoms and treatment of knee sports injuries

The Henry Ford Sports Medicine team recommends the RICE method, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation, when you are first injured.

Treatment is necessary if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Severe or intolerable pain
  • Immediate swelling
  • Inability to move your knee
  • Hear a popping noise in your knee
  • Feel your knee give out when your injury happens
  • Difficulty bending or bearing weight on the knee

Your doctor will recommend treatment based on the severity of your injury, age, health and level of activity.

Non-surgical treatments

Non-surgical treatments may include immobilizing your knee, physical therapy or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication.

Surgical treatments

Many knee injuries may require surgery in order to restore and regain the function of your leg. Knee arthroscopy is one type of surgery, which uses a tiny camera to look inside your knee.

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