Runners have faced them, weight lifters dread them, and pole dancers have occasionally encountered them, too – knee injuries are so common and present in a wide range of sports that they have become a conversational topic among athletes. Whether you’re a professional athlete or merely someone who loves to be active and stay fit, the knee is one of the most sensitive joints in your body prone to all kinds of injury and pain. However, by learning about certain symptoms, you can often catch those injuries early on and prevent any long-term damage.
Let’s go over the most common knee injuries, how you can recognize them with the help of various symptoms, and different ways you can treat them!
A dislocated knee
This is a common knee injury that can be followed by a series of other injuries in the immediate area around the knee, such as the arteries around and behind the knee. You’ll typically see that the joint is out of the socket, so it’s very easy to spot the injury itself, and the knee will often swell significantly, followed by pain and tenderness.
A knee dislocation needs immediate medical treatment, and while the doctor can reposition the knee as soon as you reach the hospital, surgery is often necessary. In any case, while it typically happens as a result of severe trauma, everyone who leads an active lifestyle should be mindful of this risk and mitigate it as much as possible!
Various forms of tendonitis
Much like with the rest of your body, your connective tissues (tendons and ligaments) are very prone to injuries. Tendonitis as a general condition is very common, and the one that is often found among athletes is called patellar tendonitis, also known as “jumper’s knee”.
Since the underlying cause of tendonitis is inflammation, treatment often involves anti-inflammatory knee injections that contain corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid, to treat the swelling and pain that occur due to the injury. If the inflammation is mild and caught early, if you notice any early signs of pain, limited mobility, or mild swelling, you might be able to heal with plenty of rest, ice, and proper physical therapy.
The sacks that can be found between your joints, tendons, muscles, and ligaments are known as bursae, and they are filled with fluid. When they succumb to inflammation, they react in a similar manner as your connective tissue – you’ll feel pain, swelling, and limited ability to move, and that is when bursitis occurs. If the condition has advanced, you may feel pain even when you’re resting.
Your doctor will use a range of different tests to make sure that it’s bursitis, such as taking an x-ray, a blood sample, or even a fluid sample from the affected joint. Causes can vary from physical trauma, stress to the joint, to an infection. The best way to minimize the risks is to never skip your warmup and cool-down, and not to exercise beyond your capacity.
The cartilage serving as a cushion between your shinbone and your thighbone is called the meniscus. Whether it’s caused by your body going through plenty of physical strain or due to natural degeneration with to age, meniscal injuries are common among people of all ages and fitness levels. Tears in the meniscus are normally accompanied by a popping sound when the injury occurs, while pain, swelling, and limited motion will quickly follow.
Due to the fact that these injuries can be of different intensity and severity, the treatments will also differ from one situation to another. You’ll find that some require rest, icing, and anti-inflammatory medication, while others will require surgery. The sooner you head to the doctor, the better your chances are to get a less invasive solution!
Make sure to always do your research, to understand the risks of any activities you want to take part in, and to exercise safely in order to prevent injuries as much as possible!