Chronic Knee Injuries
Chronic Knee Injuries can affect many athletes, from the professional who trains twice daily to the Saturday morning netballer. The pain and dysfunction can be debilitating, and can lead to extended time off sport.
The knee is a complex joint, and is controlled by a number of muscles, tendons and ligaments. The majority of chronic knee injuries are due to either Tendinitis or Patello-Femoral Syndrome.
Tendinitis Tendons are cord-like bands of tissue which join muscle to bone. They can become inflamed when a muscle is being overused, or used incorrectly (i.e. technique problems or biomechanical dysfunction). Around the knee, the Patella Tendon is the most commonly injured. It joins the quadriceps muscle to the lower leg, and can become inflamed by excessive or incorrect jumping or running. Tendinitis is also very common in growing athletes, as the muscles become very tight and put added strain on the tendons. The treatment of tendinitis focuses upon settling the inflammation (rest, ice massage), stretching and strengthening the tendon, and correcting any biomechanical or technique problems. The last issue is very important, because if these factors remain uncorrected the tendinitis will return.
Patello-Femoral Syndrome: Excessive stress to the surface of the patella (kneecap) can cause pain in the front of the knee. Commonly, the muscles on the outer part of the thigh become overly tight, and the inner muscles too weak. This leads to an imbalance of forces through the patella, which gets pulled to the side. The treatment of Patello-Femoral Syndrome is similar to that of tendinitis, and involves early rest and ice, stretching for tight outer muscles, strengthening of weak inner muscles, and correction of biomechanical or technique problems. Taping is often very helpful upon return to sport.
Chronic Knee Pain can be very debilitating, and the longer it is left untreated, the worse it will become. If you think that you are suffering from Chronic Knee Pain you should speak to your therapist who will be able to prescribe exercises to help.
Knee injuries are common amongst the general population, ranging from the elite to the everyday athlete and from the young to the elderly.
The knee is the largest joint in the body and it is also one of the most complex. The knee joint is made up of four bones, which are connected by muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The fibula is the smaller shin bone, next to the tibia. The patella or knee cap, is the small bone in the front of the knee. It slides up and down in a groove in the femur (the femoral groove) as the knee bends and straightens.
Common knee injuries
Common knee injuries include sprains and strains, generalized knee pain, ligament damage, and structural changes. All of these knee injuries can be managed and treated by your physiotherapist. Significant ligament damage and some structural damage to the knee may require surgical intervention. Your practitioner will be able to assess wether it can be treated in the clinic or in need to be referred for further investigations. If you undergo surgery, knee rehabilitation with your therapist will be able to return you to pre knee injury movement and function.
There are many different types of knee injuries, there are 4 major knee ligaments that can be damaged and result in a knee injury. These knee ligaments include:
• Anterior Cruciate ligament (ACL)
• Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL)
• Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL)
• Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL)
There are many other structures that can be damaged in your knee that result in knee pain such as meniscal injuries, bursitis, cartilage issues or fractures or dislocations.
All of these knee problems can be accurately assessed and diagnosed by your physiotherapist, if not will be referred for further investigation such as scanning.
Knee treatment may involve stretching, strengthening exercises, reduction of acute knee pain through RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), proprioception and balance exercises. Most importantly working on preventative exercises to minimize the risk of knee injury again.