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Knee Injuries

Knee injuries are common in both sports and car accidents. The parts of the knee that can be damaged due to injury include bones, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. The bones that come together to form the knee include the femur (upper leg), tibia (lower leg) and patella ( knee cap).

 

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Cartilage serves to pad the knee, helping with wear and tear and preventing shock.

Tendons and ligaments connect the muscle tissue to the bones of the knee plus interconnect the bones of the knee and may receive strains and tears when injured. The muscles that connect to the knee include the quadriceps muscle from the upper leg and the hamstring muscles from the lower leg. These muscles may receive tears and injuries as well.

The ligament most commonly injured is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which resides in the center of the knee joint. An ACL injury is common in many sports and does not heal by itself so surgery is required for reparation. Sudden twists to the knee, jumping and hard running can damage the ACL. A torn ACL will bleed into the knee and will cause swelling, pain and joint laxity.

Overstretched and overworked tendons can stretch, tear and bleed. Most of the times, though, these injuries heal by themselves and don't require surgery. Cartilage tears are also very common knee injuries particularly to the meniscus, which is often torn or split. Severe impact or twisting during weight lifting exercises, can damage the meniscus. Swelling, pain and the inability to straighten the leg are common signs of a meniscus tear.

Patello-femoral pain syndrome usually comes on gradually over time and is characterized by a pain behind the knee cap. Wear and tear to the patella is usually caused by abnormal movement of the kneecap as the knee is bent and straightened.

The Better Health Channel offers this advice for attending to knee injuries:

First aid for knee injuries in the first 48 to 72 hours
Suggestions for first aid treatment of an injured knee include:

  • Stop your activity immediately, rather than 'work through' the pain..
  • Rest the joint whenever possible.
  • Reduce pain, swelling and internal bleeding with icepacks, applied for 15 minutes every couple of hours.
  • Bandage the knee firmly, and extend the wrapping down the lower leg.
  • Elevate the injured leg.
  • Don't apply heat to the joint.
  • Avoid alcohol, as this encourages bleeding and swelling.
  • Don't massage the joint, as this encourages bleeding and swelling.

Some of the treatment options for moderate to severe knee injuries include:

  • Aspiration - if the knee joint is grossly swollen, the doctor may release the pressure by drawing off some of the fluid with a fine needle.
  • Physiotherapy - including ultrasound and electrical muscle stimulation treatment, kneecap taping, exercises for increased mobility and strength, and associated rehabilitation techniques.
  • Arthroscopic surgery - or 'keyhole' surgery, where the knee operation is performed by inserting slender instruments through small incisions. Cartilage tears are often treated with arthroscopic surgery.
  • Open surgery - required when the injuries are more severe. The entire joint needs to be laid open for repair.

Quick action is generally advise when one receives a knee injury. By getting professional help early, further damage can be avoided and treatment options can be outlined and put into place. Waiting to take care of a knee injury at a later time can result in deterioration of the injury and a less positive outcome for future recovery.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


 

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