Of all the things you can injure, your knee is extra problematic. Your knees keep you balanced and enable you to perform basic activities. If your knees are out of commission, so are you.
The first step to combatting knee pain is knowing about the types of knee injuries that affect your knee. The differences between fractures, dislocations, and various sprains and tears are important. Information about how these injuries happen is also vital.
This knowledge will help you know what signs to look out for if you feel you’ve suffered a knee injury. You’ll also be better equipped to avoid aggravating or getting the injury in the first place. For an in-depth guide about the different types of knee injuries and how they work, keep reading.
Among the different types of knee injuries, fractures are the most common. These usually occur in the patella, known as the knee cap. Despite being pretty frequent, knee fractures are also one of the most serious.
Your knee cap serves as the first line of defense for the vulnerable joint of your knee. If you knock your knee or suffer a heavy blow to it, it will fracture. You don’t have any cartilage in front of your patella to absorb the impact – it’s all behind it.
The other areas around your knee that can fracture are the very ends of your thighbone and shinbone. These areas where your distal femur and proximal tibia meet are partially what your kneecap protects. Any significant force, especially blunt and high velocity or energy, can cause fracturing.
Depending on the angle, the damage can bypass the patella or blow past it with such force that it hits the cartilage and other bones behind it. Getting hit by a car or falling from a large height on your knees would generate the kind of force needed.
Your ligaments are the things that tie your bones to each other. They’re the connecting rope that gives your knee stability and absorbs shock when you move it in different directions. A knee ligament injury can come in different severities and affect different ligaments.
These injuries can range from mild sprains to partial and full tears. There are four major ligaments you could injure, all of which are common. These get divided into two categories: collateral ligaments and cruciate ligaments.
Collateral is on the sides, while cruciate is inside the knee joint itself – i.e., the part that bends.
The MCL is on the inner side of your knee, while the LCL is on the outer side. They connect the femur to the tibia and fibula, respectively, as collateral ligaments. A blow that knocks your knees sideways causes MCL or LCL injuries.
Of these, the MCL is most common, especially in sports. A blow to the outside of your knee will tweak your knee inward, tearing or spraining the MCL. Hits to the inside of your knees, which would cause an LCL, are far less common in sports.
The ACL and PCL are cruciate ligaments and form an X together. The PCL sits in the back while the ACL is in the front. The ACL is often injured in high-intensity sports where sudden movements are necessary.
For example, over-extending or landing in an awkward position can tear your ACL. The PCL is also a common sports injury but usually comes from hard contact while bending the knee.
A dislocated knee happens when the bones in your knee pop out of place. Dislocation is a reminder that hits or trauma to the knee doesn’t always have to result in tears or fractures. Falling or a knee-on-knee collision in sports can sometimes cause a dislocation.
Sometimes the knee will heal the damage itself. It will likely be sore for a few days and might have come with a slight sprain, but it will heal quite soon. You can use your knee during this time but should avoid stressing it too soon.
If it doesn’t correct itself, you’ll need to go to a doctor. Treatment is as simple as pushing the bones back in place when it comes to these kinds of knee injuries. Dislocations are usually fixed with one swift motion to avoid excessive stress.
Because of this, it isn’t advisable to do it yourself unless you know what you’re doing.
Tearing Your Tendon
Your tendons are what tie your muscles to your bones. They can get overextended, stretched, and even torn. Middle-aged and older people, who live active lifestyles, are more prone to injure their tendons.
The two major tendons in your knee are the quadriceps and the patellar. The first is for the connection between your patella and front thigh. The second runs along with the muscles from your knee cap to your shinbone.
When it comes to knee injuries, causes are pretty common. Sports that involve lots of jumping like hurdles or basketball pose a risk of tendon damage. Running or lots of side-to-side movement are also fair game.
Often when people feel they’ve “pulled a muscle,” a tendon is the offending part. Awkward falls or movement, especially when overextending while bracing, can cause tendon tears.
Tearing your Meniscus
Among the most common types of knee injuries are tears to the meniscus. Your meniscus consists of two pieces of shock-absorbing cartilage. Injuries or wear and tear can affect the ability of the meniscus to stabilize and cushion the knee joint.
The chance of damage to the meniscus often increases with age as it weakens. Arthritis is often associated with this erosion. The actual damage occurs when committing to a sudden twisting or pivoting movement.
A common example is when you pivot your foot and body in basketball to shield the ball. However, even something as simple as getting out of a chair too fast can lead to a meniscal tear. This is where the effect of older age comes into play.
Recognizing the Types of Knee Injuries
There’s an assortment of different types of knee injuries to know about. Some affect the bone or kneecap, and others are sprains or tears. In some cases, rest is good enough, whereas, in others, it’s best to go to a doctor.
Knowing who to trust and what to try can be tough, especially if you’ve already tried everything. At Rejuvenate Your Health, we’re experts in pain and injury recovery. Give us a call today and put yourself on the path to healing.