Common Knee Injuries and How You Can Prevent Them
The knee is one of the largest joint in the body, and also one of the joints most prone to injuries. Knee injuries are extremely common and can affect people due to a variety of reasons including exercise, accidents, old age, and more.
Knee injuries can make it difficult to live an active life. Understanding what causes knee injuries and the steps you can take to prevent them can help keep them from slowing you down. Keep reading to learn more about the knee and what you can do to protect it.
How Does the Knee Work?
The knee uses bones, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons to allow you to bend and flex your leg. All these parts work in unison to form your knee joint—which also makes them sensitive to injury. In essence, it works like a door hinge, and each part needs to be healthy for it to work. Below are some of the most common knee injuries, and what you can do to prevent them.
1. Ligament Sprain/Strain
If you play sports, you might be familiar with this type of injury. Ligament injuries occur when the knee is overextended or moved in a way that it can’t handle. Knee ligaments keep the knee in place, so when pushed too much, they can stretch and even tear.
- Grade 1: Mild Ligament Tear
In a grade 1 injury, the fibers become slightly extended. There will be minimal swelling and mild bruising.
- Grade 2: Moderate Ligament Tear
Grade 2 injuries involve partially torn ligament fibers. It results in more pain, swelling, and bruising.
- Grade 3: Complete Ligament Tear
A grade 3 ligament tear is when the ligament is completely torn while the knee and surrounding areas will be extremely bruised and swollen.
2. Meniscus Tear
Meniscus tears are common in sports where jumping and twisting are involved, such as skiing or volleyball, and even football and soccer. The cartilage in your knee creates a cushion for the bones but frequent twisting motions can cause it to become weak and tear. In addition, the older you get, the more common this injury becomes.
Repetitive actions performed incorrectly or being on your feet for long periods can cause excess stress on your knees. Running improperly is a prime example, and is very often the reason behind knee injuries from overuse. Poor posture and unsupported shoes are also factors that can wear out the knee.
Tips to Prevent Knee Injury
- Always perform warm-ups and cooldowns before and after physical activity.
- Include resistance training in your workout routine to build up the muscles protecting the ligaments.
- Avoid sudden changes in workout intensity.
- Pay attention to your form when exercising and playing sports.
- Replace worn-out shoes regularly so there’s ample support for both your foot and leg.
- Use properly fitted knee guards as needed.
If you’re looking for advice on knee health or treatment for knee pain, visit the experienced practice of Matthew D. Barber, M.D. Call us at (251) 410-3600 or book an appointment online to get started!
While Dr Barber focuses exclusively on the management of knee and hip problems with a focus on joint replacement procedures, he is proud to be a source of information for patients and has several specialist partners at ALABAMA ORTHOPAEDIC CLINIC who are available to treat any orthopedic condition.