The knee is the largest and most complex joint in the body, and with its load-bearing and dynamic range of uses in anything from daily activities to weightlifting and extreme sports, it is particularly vulnerable to a variety of injuries.
Numerous sporting activities, which involve fast-passed activity or repetitive stresses on the knee joint can lead to “runner’s knee.” Runners knee, which is characterized by a dull aching pain located around the kneecap and is particularly painful when walking up or down stairs, kneeling, or squatting. The term “runner’s knee” refers to a group of conditions associated with sports or other motion activities. Common runner’s knee conditions include anterior knee pain syndrome, patellofemoral malalignment, and chondromalacia patella.
Ligament Injuries: In the knee joint, four ligaments joint the thigh bone (femur) to the lower leg bones (tibia and fibula). These ligaments are particularly susceptible to injury from high-strain motions common to sports activities, as well as impact injuries in contact sports such as football.
Three of the four ligaments are more commonly involved in knee join ligament injuries including the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the medial collateral ligament (MCL), followed by the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).
Injuries to the ACL ligament can result from hard landings and sudden stops, and occasionally direct impact. MCL injuries primarily result from impact injuries to the outside of the knee in contact sports. PCL injuries are common with a direct impact to the front of the knee.
Torn Cartilage (Meniscus)
The meniscus is an elastic cartilage attached to the knee joint ligaments, which provides cushioning for the joint. This cartilage is susceptible to tearing under high-stress motion twists of the knee joint common in fast-paced sports. Direct impact may also be responsible for tears in the meniscus knee cartilage.
Treatment for ligament injuries in the knee joint may involve either surgical or non-surgical treatments. Accurate diagnosis by an orthopedic doctor, as well as the type and extent of the injury will dictate to best treatment approach available.