Getting To Know Your Knees

The knee, it’s one of the most fundamental function points in the human body and a common point of injury for many of us. Knee injuries happen fairly often, and unfortunately, there are many ways to injure them.

What exactly does the knee consist of?

The knee is a hinge joint, this means it is designed to allow the extension and flexion of the lower leg, or forwards and backwards exactly like a door. To allow for the weight distribution and movement, it consists of a complex arrangement of ligaments, tendons and bones all set up and ready to get you moving.

Hard tissue surrounding the knee consists of the upper leg bone, the Femur, lower leg bones (Tibia, aka. Shin and Fibula) and the knee cap (Patella). Soft tissues include the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments, the medial and lateral collateral ligaments and the menisci cartilage cushioning impact between the bones within the joint.

How does the knee hold everything together?

The knee holds the surrounding bones together, and stops them from moving away from the joint.
The anterior cruciate ligament or ACL and posterior cruciate ligament or PCL work together to keep the femur and tibia and fibula in place. These are found in an X formation behind the knee cap.
The medial (inner side of the knee) and lateral (outer side of the knee) collateral ligaments (MCL and LCL) are positioned to stop the knee from moving side to side, and prevent the femur from sliding outwards.
The menisci aka meniscus is the cartilage between the upper leg and lower leg bones, and is fundamental in shock absorption.

How do knee injuries usually occur?

Due to the knee’s minimal range of movement (forwards and backwards), accidental twisting motions or harsh falls onto the knee can cause damage to the ligaments and cartilage. Knee injuries can take anywhere from 2 weeks of rest all the way to requiring surgery and intense rehabilitation.

Which knee injuries are the most common?

Pain and swelling are generally the tell-tale signs of a knee injury, here are the ones to look out for:

Fractures of the surrounding bones Femur, Tibia, Fibula and Patella can be caused by a harsh impact such as a fall or stress fractures through overuse.

Dislocation of the lower leg from the upper, due to excessive movement and force causing the knee to come out of its case. Extremely painful, and often causing significant damage to the ligament casing.

Sprains and Strains of the soft tissue (ligaments, tendons and cartilage) of the knee joint consist of the widest range of injuries across the grading system, from minor “stretching” through to severe ruptures. These are common in sports, especially those that require agility and in some cases harsh stopping/starting.

Your knees are the foundation of movement, and any injury should be assessed by one of our highly experienced physiotherapists. The team at Progressive Sports & Spinal Physiotherapy are experienced in a range of areas including rehabilitation after exercise and injury management. Contact the practice today on (02) 4721 7798, email info@progressiverehab.com.au or book your next appointment online here.

Suzanne graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Health Science (Sports and Exercise Science) in 2015. She then went on to continue her studies at Macquarie University graduating from the Doctor of Physiotherapy post-graduate degree in June 2019.

Since graduating, Suzanne has worked in the local Penrith area in both private practice and Sports Physiotherapy. Suzanne has worked with sporting teams including Penrith District Netball Association, Mt Druitt Rangers (NPL), Penrith Valley Figure Skating Club, and local dance and cheer schools. 

Suzanne has a particular interest in working with artistic athletes including cheerleaders and dancers. She has a professional background in both cheer and dance and has previously worked as both a cheer coach and dance teacher. Suzanne’s previous experiences are an invaluable resource to her as a physiotherapist, as she has a thorough understanding of the level of physical fitness and skill acquisition that these athletes must have in order to be successful on stage and in competition.

Suzanne’s other areas of clinical interest reside in lower limb musculoskeletal injuries, spinal pathologies and women’s health.

Nathanial graduated as a physiotherapist in 2012 which saw him work in private practice and hospital settings gaining experience in all areas of physiotherapy including hand therapy, splinting/casting, pre/post-operative care, Men’s Health and general musculoskeletal, occupational and sports physiotherapy. Since then he has gone on to complete further studies in physiotherapy enabling him to be the only dual titled Musculoskeletal, Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist in Penrith.

Nathanial has a strong background in sports physiotherapy achieving accreditation with NSWIS as a service provider and working with many elite sports teams.

Nathanial has a particular interest in working with elite athletes, complex cases and in particular assessment and management of knee, hip and shoulder pain.

Andrea graduated from the Australian Catholic University completing her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science in 2018 and Master’s of Clinical Exercise Physiology in 2020. After graduating she attained accreditation with ESSA as an Exercise Physiologist.

During her studies she gained clinical experience in both hospital and private practice settings, working in the cardiac rehabilitation program, heart failure service and mental health unit at Nepean Hospital. And at the ACU Exercise and Lifestyle Clinic working with clients with neurological conditions, cancer and chronic musculoskeletal injuries.

Since graduating, Andrea enjoys working with a variety of clients. She has a particular interest in treating musculoskeletal injuries and neurological conditions, striving to help people increase their functional capacity to get them back to work, sport or the things they love doing.