The most commonly injured part of the body is probably the knee. Injuries of the knee are primarily caused by sports, automobile accidents or falls. Usually, the knee is twisted in a manner that nature did not intend it to twist. This can damage both cartilage and ligaments. The area of the knee that is affected will greatly determine the type of knee injury.
There are several common knee injuries. How do you know when it is serious enough to see a doctor and when is it okay to treat the injury on your own? Let’s look at the types of knee injuries and the seriousness of each.
Ligaments are bands of tissue that connect bones in your body. The knee has four types of ligaments:
- ACL — the anterior cruciate ligament is the most commonly injured ligament. It connects the shin bone to the thigh bone. ACL injuries can be very painful and will have a big impact on your daily activities. ACL injuries are rated on a scale from one to three. A sprain with a grade one rating is mild, while a grade three rating consists of a completely torn ligament.
- PCL — the posterior cruciate ligament is rarely injured and more commonly occurs as a result of an automobile accident. This ligament is located in the back of the knee and also connects the shin bone and thigh bone.
- LCL — the lateral collateral ligament connects the thigh bone to the fibula, which is the smaller bone on the outer side of the knee on the lower leg. This injury most often occurs when there is a direct blow to the inside of the knee.
- MCL — the medial collateral ligament gives the inner knee stability, helping to limit the shin from twisting outward. MCL injuries are common while playing sports when the outer knee takes a serious hit and pushes the knee inward. When there is damage to the MCL you often feel like your knee collapses or buckles.
Bursitis of the knee is a result of the fluid-filled pouch, or bursa, becoming infected or inflamed. A healthy bursa works to minimize any friction between the tendons and muscles surrounding the joints. When the bursa is infected or irritated it limits its performance abilities and causes knee pain.
A meniscus tear is damage that occurs on the inside of the knee. There are two menisci in each knee joint. As you age, the meniscus weakens, and movements like climbing stairs or squatting can result in an injury or tear of the meniscus. An osteoarthritis diagnoses can put you at a higher risk of knee injury or tearing the meniscus because the cartilage is thinner and weaker, therefore more susceptible to tearing.
A knee fracture can occur as a result of a direct hit to the bones on the knee. A kneecap, or Patella fracture happens when someone falls and hits their knees directly causing the kneecap to fracture because of the force.
It is possible but unusual to dislocate your knee joint as a result of a high-impact injury due to a car accident or high-level sports. If this happens, it will require treatment or surgery immediately.
If you suffer from knee pain, it is best to consult with a doctor for knee pain residents trust before attempting to self-treat the injury.