Common Knee Injuries
While Piedmont Orthopaedic Complex treats almost every type of knee injury, three of the more common knee injuries are an tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (commonly referred to as an ACL tear), a tear of the posterior cruciate ligament (commonly referred to as a PCL tear), and a tear of the meniscus.
This injury is a tearing of the ACL ligament in the knee joint. The ACL ligament is one of the bands of tissue that connects the femur to the tibia. An ACL tear can be painful. It can cause the knee to become unstable.
An ACL tear usually occurs during athletic activity. The ACL can tear during abrupt movements such as sudden stops, pivots or directional changes. The ACL can also tear when a person jumps and lands awkwardly. In some cases, ACL tears are caused by a traumatic injury such as a vehicular accident or a violent tackle.
A common symptom of an ACL tear is a popping sound or sensation in the knee at the moment of injury. The knee may be very painful, and it may swell. It may feel unstable. The person may be unable to continue physical activity.
In some cases, an ACL tear can be treated conservatively in patients who have a low activity level. Nonsurgical options may include crutches, a knee brace, and strengthening and stability exercises. For active patients, surgery and rehabilitation are commonly required.
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This condition occurs when the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), a band of tissue that connects the femur to the tibia inside the knee joint, becomes torn or worn away. A torn PCL causes pain and instability of the knee.
PCL tears most commonly result from severe injury or trauma to the knee. A sudden blow to the front of the knee while the knee is bent can force the tibia backward, tearing the PCL. This occurs most frequently in motor vehicle accidents.
The most common symptom of a torn PCL is pain in the knee. Other symptoms may include immediate weakness or popping sound in the knee after an injury, swelling, stiffness, and bruising. Walking is painful and the knee may feel unstable.
Treatment options for torn PCL include rest, cold compress, wrapping the knee, elevating the knee, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory medications. If pain or instability of the knee worsens, surgery may be required.
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This is a common injury of the knee. Your knee joint is cushioned by two c-shaped wedges of cartilage called the "menisci." Each individual cushion is called a "meniscus." This injury is a tear of one of these cushions.
Meniscus tears are often caused by physical activity. Twisting or rotating your knee suddenly can cause a meniscus to tear. Kneeling, squatting and heavy lifting can as well. And as you age, your menisci gradually become thin and brittle, which can increase your risk for a tear.
Symptoms may include a popping sensation and pain in your knee. You may have trouble straightening your leg. It may swell and stiffen, and it may lock in place.
Treatment options include rest, ice and medications. You may benefit from physical therapy. If these are not helpful, you may benefit from a surgical procedure to repair the damage. Your healthcare provider can create a care plan that is right for your needs.