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 firstname.lastname@example.org or book your next appointment online here.