The knee is a joint, and it is the largest joint in the body. your knees provide stability and flexibility for your body and allow your legs to bend, swivel, and straighten.
The knee is composed of the lower end of the femur (thighbone), which rotates on the upper end of the tibia (shinbone), and the patella (knee cap), which slides in a groove on the end of the femur.
Large ligaments are also present in the knee. They help control motion by connecting the bones together and by bracing the joint against abnormal types of motion. The meniscus is another important structure of the knee.
It is a wedge of soft cartilage between the thighbone and shinbone that acts as a knee cushion and helps the knee absorb shock when in motion.
The parts of your knee are all working as one. A stress or damage to any parts of your knee is generally considered as a knee injury. your knee joint’s complex design and its active weight-bearing characteristic make your knee one of the most commonly injured joints.
Knee injuries are classified Into Two Types:
1.Acute Injuries – Injuries which are caused by sudden trauma, such as an awkward fall, collision or twist of the knee joint
2.Overuse Injuries – Injuries which are caused by continuous activity or overload, such as running, jumping, cycling, weight training or bushwalking
Some Common Forms of Knee Injury
1.Ligament Injury – Injury to the ligaments usually result from trauma or playing sports. It may occur in the inner portion of the knee (medial collateral ligament), the outer portion of the knee (lateral collateral ligament), or within the knee (cruciate ligaments).
Ligament injuries may also occur in several forms: a complete tear, a partial tear, a stretch injury, or alteration in function caused by an adjacent fracture.
An injury to the ligament in the knee is usually painful at rest and may be swollen and warm and may worsen with bending of the knee, putting weight on the knee, or walking.
2. Meniscus Tears – The meniscus can be damaged with the shearing forces of rotation that are applied to the knee during sharp, rapid motions. This is especially common with athletes who are involved in sports which require active body movements.
Aging and degeneration may also increase the risk of meniscus tears. A single meniscus may have one or more tears. A rapid onset of a popping sensation can be felt during a knee movement or certain activities that can affect the knee.
3. Patellar Tendinitis – Tendinitis is inflammation, irritation, and swelling of a tendon resulting from an injury, overuse, or aging as the tendon loses elasticity. Patellar tendinitis occurs in front of the knee below the kneecap at the patellar tendon.
This knee injury is most common in athletes whose sports involve frequent jumping, such as in basketball, soccer, and volleyball. For this reason, patellar tendinitis is commonly known as “jumper’s knee”.
The pain is usually found in the section of your patellar tendon between your kneecap and the area where the tendon attaches to your shinbone. Sharp pain can be felt during physical activity.
4. Fracture – Excessive pressure in a bone can cause a crack or a split. This is referred to as fracture.
Fractures usually happen due to aging, car accidents, falls or sports injuries. When a fracture occurs into or around a joint surface, that joint has a increased risk of developing arthritis because of the injury.
Causes Of Knee Injuries
Knee injuries occur frequently and for a variety of reasons. Knee injuries happen due to sports, age, and accidents among other factors.
When a person suffers a knee problem, it impairs their mobility and speaking from experience, a knee injury can be quite painful. Millions of Americans suffer from pain due to knee injuries and the number grows daily.
Athletes know the pain of knee injuries all too well due to the violent nature of their sports. Athletes involved in contact sports like soccer, football, and basketball are at high risk when it comes to knee problems.
When 300-pound players collide with one another at high-speed, it’s only a matter of time before knee injuries happen.
In addition, these athletes twist and contort their bodies into positions that make their knees more vulnerable to injury.
Sometimes all it takes is a player’s foot to get caught in turf or to jump and come down on a fallen player causing his knee to buckle and be injured. While these knee injuries occur on courts or fields, some knee damage can happen in the home.
People also get knee injuries from falling off of roofs or ladders and from falling down stairs. Statistics show that most accidents occur in the home or within a few blocks of the home. In fact, there could be problems ensuring a home that has stairs that don’t have a required handrail or it has missing or broken stairs.
It’s easy to see how this could result in falls and knee wounds. Some injuries of knees occur when homeowners try to save money by doing it themselves rather than hire a roofer to repair the roof. Falls like this have killed some people and maimed others for life. These weekend warriors are fortunate if they escape with just knee pain.
Age can be another contributing factor to knee pain. As we age our bones become less dense, making them more brittle and susceptible to falling and serious injury. This is more prominent than ever with the average lifespan of Americans getting higher and higher.
Ironically, this is due to advances in medicine and people taking better care of themselves. But seniors suffer knee damage doing an everyday task that at one time were simple, like getting into or out of a bathtub.
A task like this becomes more difficult with age for some and put them at greater risk of falling and hurting their knees.
Ways To Prevent Knee Injuries
The knees are constantly under a great deal of stress, especially when you work out or play sports. For those who have experienced knee troubles in the past, avoiding further injury can be tricky if you do not take the necessary precautions.
In addition, if you are overweight, the risk of knee injury is increased. Therefore, it is important that you take the necessary steps to prevent knee injuries.
1.Proper Foot Alignment
When you do any activity that involves bending, it is important to ensure that your knees are lined up with your feet to avoid injury. Imagine a line that goes straight up from your feet to meet the knee.
Proper foot alignment is crucial during certain activities, including lunges and squats. By being too far back or too far forward, you are placing excessive stress on the joints of your knees.
2.The Right Shoes
Wearing proper footwear is one of the best ways to prevent knee injuries. For example, you should not work out in street shoes, nor should you wear shoes that do not provide adequate support. Athletic shoes often carry a high price, but the additional cushion for your joints is worth every dime.
3. Development of The Pelvic and Thigh Muscles
Our knees have the thankless job of taking up the slack for the entire leg. Therefore, it is important to focus on building up the muscles of your pelvis and thighs in order to keep the balance as it should be. This will ensure that the workload placed on your knees stays within the healthy limits.
It may take you a few minutes longer, but another one of the best ways to prevent knee injuries is to warm up properly before your activities. Stretching and warming up your legs before you begin any activity that may put stress on the knees is critical.
Not only will a proper warm-up reduce the risk of knee injury considerably, but it will also make the entire activity easier and keep your movements smooth. So, before you run that mile, hit the stage, go for a hike, etc., take a moment to properly warm up your legs to prevent painful injury.
5. Do Not Overdo It
It would be great if we all could run five miles a day, climb Mt. Everest and bench press twice our weight, but the fact is without proper training, your body is not going to hold up to overexertion. In addition, it is not a good idea to alter the intensity of your activity suddenly, instead build up to higher activity levels gradually to avoid knee injury.
Kind of Knee Injuries
As highlighted above, the two main categories of knee-related injuries are acute injuries and overuse injuries. Acute injuries are those which happen suddenly.
They usually occur during a fall or when the knee takes a serious hit. This is a common sports injury. Acute injuries include sprains, fractures, ruptured tendons are torn ligaments and torn cartilage.
Overuse injuries are those that occur over time, usually becoming painful when the intensity or duration of an activity is increased too quickly. Overuse injuries include tendonitis, knee bursitis, muscle strains, and iliotibial band syndrome.
Treatments For Knee Injuries
Acute knee injuries are most commonly associated with instantaneous pain. These injuries can be very severe so if you or someone you know feels a sudden, sharp pain in their knee and can no longer support themselves with the knee, call 911 immediately.
As you wait for medical assistance you should, apply an ice pack to the area for 15-20 minutes out of every hour to reduce swelling and pain throughout the knee.
Overuse injuries take longer to develop and can happen over days, weeks or even months. If swelling, aching, or throbbing occurs in the knee after prolonged activity the RICE method can be used as treatment. This stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
Resting your knee is important to keep your injury from getting worse. Keeping off the knee will help the pain go down. Ice packs applied to the area for 15-20 minutes out of every hour can reduce swelling and inflammation.
It is imperative that ice packs are not left on for longer than 20 minutes out of every hour as this can cause frostbite. Compressing the knee with an elastic bandage can also reduce swelling and alleviate pain. Lastly, using a pillow to elevate the knee above the level of the heart can reduce inflammation.
Even with overuse injuries, it is important that you receive medical attention for the knee. A professional opinion can identify exactly what injury you have endured and what measures should be taken for recovery.
How To Avoid Knee Injuries
The knee supports the bulk of ones body weight is subject to the many physical stresses of everyday life. The knee is one of the most important joints of the body, and one of the most complexes. Because of this complexity, the knee is susceptible to many ailments. Among the most common are:
- Arthritis caused by a deterioration of knee cartilage leading to wear and tear on the bones.
- Ligament tears due to traumatic contact injuries or hyperextension that is stretching because of a sudden change of direct or pivoting.
- The kneecap (patella) is connected to the tibia and femur by the patellar and quadriceps tendon. Overuse of the knee can cause tendonitis, an inflammation of the tissue.
- Between the femur and tibia bones, there is cartilage, known as the meniscus which keeps the bones from rubbing together. Repetitious movement or sudden turns of the knee can lead to meniscus tears, often in conjunction with other knee injuries.
- Bursitis which refer an irritation of small fluid sacs which enclose the knee.
- Dislocated kneecap while the patella slips to the outside of its usual alignment.
- Hyperextension is used when the knee bends back away from the hinged lock position.
Common knee injuries occur all the time, the most important factor in determining how well you recover is that you are treated quickly and efficiently.
It is also imperative that you receive a proper diagnosis from your health care practitioner so that more serious knee injuries are treated with an urgency to allow for a complete recovery.
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