Sports and physical activity offer countless opportunities for exploration, competition, and personal development. However, athletes who play sports also run the downside of experiencing knee injuries. According to research studies, the Knee is the most prevalent area of injury among young athletes. Overall, sports injuries account for around 55% of knee injuries. These injuries have the potential to have an enormous impact on an athlete’s performance, well-being, and entire sports journey.
In this article, we have mentioned the most common knee injuries in athletes including symptoms, causes, and more.
The Most Common Knee Injuries in Sports Journey:
The following are the most common knee injuries encountered by athletes: have a peek!
The most common knee injury in athletes is knee dislocation. This occurs when the bones in the joints are displaced from their normal position. High-energy trauma or forced changes in directions may cause knee dislocations. Injuries of this type are classified into two groups: low-velocity injuries caused by sports injuries and high-velocity injuries caused by accidents.
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome:
The patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is also known by other names such as running knees, jumping knees, etc. Generally, it occurs in athletes and individuals who engage in repetitive knee-bending activities such as cycling, running, and so on. An individual with this condition experiences pain and discomfort around the kneecap (patella), specifically behind or around it.
Knee Ligament Injury:
The knee ligament is one of the common knee injuries in athletes that can affect various ligaments present in the knee joint. The following are the four primary ligament knee injuries.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)
The ACL is placed in the center of the knee and controls rotation and forward movement of the femur. An ACL injury is a tear or sprain of the ACL caused by involvement in activities that include sudden stops, fast changes in direction, or direct blows to the knee during Soccer or basketball.
Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL)
The posterior cruciate ligament is also the strongest ligament in the knee. It is located in the middle of the knee like the ACL ligament, but it controls the femur’s backward movement. In addition, PCL injuries are provoked by direct impacts to the front of the knee, such as sudden stretching practices or sharp knee blows during football matches or accidents.
Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL)
The MCL is located on the inner side of the knee, which provides stability by preventing inward stress. An MCL tear or sprain causes instability in the knee. Medial Collateral ligament tears are extremely common knee injuries in athletes. An MCL tear usually occurs after a direct blow to the outer side of the knee or a twisting motion during a sporting activity.
Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL)
Compared to ACL & PCL injuries, lateral collateral ligament injuries are less common among athletes. It is located on the outside side of the knee joint and runs from the bottom of the femur to the fibula, preventing excessive outward knee movement. Often, an LCL injury occurs due to hyperextension on the knee joint or to twisting motions.
One of the most common injuries in sports is a knee fracture; almost everyone has experienced one. This fracture occurs when one of the bones of the knee joint, such as the femur, tibia, or patella, breaks or cracks. The most common causes of knee fractures are falling or high-impact trauma.
The meniscus is a cartilage pad with a crescent shape that stabilizes and provides cushioning for the knee joint. Damage or tearing of the meniscus are terms used to describe meniscal injuries. These sports injuries frequently result from knee-direct contact, twisting, or pivoting. Nevertheless, the severity can vary depending on the extent of the damage, from mild to severe.
Knee Injury Prevention Tips:
The following are precautions that every athlete should take to avoid knee injuries.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Warm up before exercise and stretching practices.
- Opt for low-impact exercises.
- Use knee wraps or braces for additional support during physical activity.
- Reduce stress on knees.
- Avoid repetitive motions.
- Use proper form and technique when performing activities.
- Listen to your body and take breaks.
Note: The following table is for a general overview. It is essential to consult with a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and individualized treatment plan for any knee injury. Stay updated with Osteocare to know more about sports injuries.