5 Most Common Knee Injuries After 50

nucitrusKnee Pain

Did you know a flamingo’s knees can bend backward? Cool, huh? And while that’s great for those pink birds, if your knee bends backward, it means a world of pain.

In fact, knee injuries are some of the most painful there are. The most common knee injuries on this list almost all require some sort of medical treatment, whether it’s surgery or a cast.

And while our treatments can’t put your dislocated knee back into place, they may be able to reduce your recovery time after surgery.

Learn about the most common knee injuries, how they’re sustained, and what treatment looks like, below.

1. Knee Arthritis Pain

While not an acute injury, having arthritis in your knees can be debilitating. Whether it’s Osteo or Rheumatoid, your knees are one of the most-used joints in your body.

Unless you’re wheelchair-bound, any full-body movement involves your knees.

Unfortunately, we don’t know much about why some people get arthritis and some people don’t. We know even less about why some joints are affected more than others—especially in people with similar motions.

What we do know is that no one wants to live with achy knees that cause them pain—and worse—instability. Both these traits can increase fall risks and therefore the other injuries on this list.

If you’ve recently had a knee trauma and are now experiencing new knee pain, it may be post-traumatic arthritis. Let whoever is treating you for the original knee injury know you’re having joint pain and they may recommend one specialty therapy.

2. Patella Fractures

Your patella is the piece of bone that makes up your kneecap. It’s unique in that it’s not attached to any other bone. It essentially floats around in synovial fluid, which is what allows such a range of movement.

That synovial fluid acts as a cushion for your patella, both from the outside world and the inside of your body. As we age, we lose synovial fluid, and that lessens the “padding” your kneecap has.

That, plus the fact that our bones get weaker as we age (thanks to things like osteoporosis), puts the kneecap at risk of being broken, or at the very least, bruised.

Patella fractures are common, but they’re not minor. You could need anything from a straight-leg cast,  stem-cell therapy, or surgery to fix it.

To protect your kneecap and reduce your risk of breaking it, stay hydrated, take a calcium supplement, and engage in lower-body weight-bearing exercise in a way that your doctor approves.

3. ACL Tear

There are many tendons in your knees, such as your Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). It lives behind your patella and connects your thigh bone (femur) to your shin bone (tibia).

In young people and athletes, ACL tears are usually due to sports and overextension.

But in older adults, the ACL can weaken over time, then tear during a fall, or when stumbling to avoid one.

ACL tears often require surgery and since they happen during accidents, they’re hard to avoid.

Speed up your recovery with Platelet Rich Plasma therapy—or even use it to avoid surgery altogether! Talk to your doctor about integrating PRP therapy into your healing plan, then give us a call.

4. Torn Meniscus

While your ACL joins your thigh bone and your shin bone, your meniscus is the cartilage that cushions the two from bumping into each other. It sits under your patella, at the top of your tibia.

Unfortunately, your meniscus can get weaker over time, especially if you did knee-damaging activities in your youth. And if the meniscus is weak enough, it can tear. Most tears happen from a twisting motion, like in sports or during a slip/fall.

There are six types of meniscus tears, with incomplete tears as the most common, and anterior horn tears as the least.

Sometimes the meniscus will heal on its own, but that takes longer and longer as you age. If the tear is bad enough, it may require surgery.

If you’re trying to avoid surgery or speed up recovery time, and your doctor is on board, Platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP) may be exactly what you need to help your meniscus cartilage build back faster.

Talk to someone at our clinic for more details and schedule an appointment to find the right treatment for you.

5. Dislocation Injuries

There are three main types of knee dislocation injuries and none of them are very fun. They include the tearing of knee-related tendons and movement of either the tibia or femur out of its normal placement.

  1. Posterior knee dislocations
  2. Anterior dislocations
  3. Rotation-type dislocations

Posterior knee dislocations are where the tibia (shin bone) gets pushed backward — the way your knee is not supposed to bend.

Anterior dislocations are the opposite, instead of the thigh bone going forward and the shin going back, the shin bone hyperextends while your thigh bone gets pushed back.

Finally, there are the rotation-type dislocations, This is where your shin bone gets pushed out to the outside (lateral) or inside (medial) part of your body. In some circumstances, your shin bone can rotate out of place, essentially twisting and snapping (or stretching) the tendons that attach it to your femur.

Some dislocations will get better with rest, but most require some sort of surgery or “resetting” by a doctor.

Since there are so many tendon injuries associated with a dislocation (of any type), PRP or stem-cell therapy can really help speed up healing. With these therapies you’re not adding anything unnatural into your body — you’re just showing your body where to put what it already makes to use.

Common Knee Injuries

We wish these injuries weren’t so common, but many of us were not kind to our knees in our youth. Whether you played soccer, volleyball, or were a runner, most athletes (and long-retired athletes) have one of these common knee injuries at one point.

If your knee injury was due to a fall, you have an equally long road ahead of you.

No matter the source of your injury, we want to make the road to recovery as short and painless as possible. Find out if our services are a good fit for you and your rehabilitation journey on our site.