Our aim at St Kilda Physiotherapy is to restore pain free movement, function and strength when at home, work and playing sport.
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Knee Injuries

If you like sport, particularly ones that involve your foot striking the ground, you may encounter a  knee injury at some stage in your life.

The knee is in the middle of a long lever (your leg) and it allows movement  between your femur (thigh bone) and tibia (leg bone). Therefore the stresses placed through it are high- especially in sports that involve speed, twisting and turning and collisions/falls. Sports such as football, soccer, basketball, netball and skiing come to mind .You may have lunged at the ball, twisted your  knee, perhaps felt a click with immediate pain. These types of knee injuries are known as acute injuries.

The anatomy of the knee joint complex also includes the patella (kneecap) which sits over the true knee joint (between the femur and tibia). Cartilage or menisci provide shock absorption and stability for the knee and are located within the knee joint. These structures are commonly torn when twisting and turning during weight-bearing activities.

Ligaments stabilize or hold the knee joint together. Cruciate ligaments (anterior and posterior) are important especially the anterior cruciate ligament. If this ligament is ruptured, a knee reconstruction is needed to replace the torn ligament in order to play most sports again. The rehabilitation is lengthy and physiotherapy is very important in this process. If the anterior cruciate is not completely torn and the knee joint is stable (not wobbly) physiotherapy rehabilitation without surgery is enough for recovery.

Lateral and medial ligament injuries of the knee are also common. Again, if ruptured, surgery may be necessary. It is common to see partial tears/strains – physiotherapy and sometimes knee bracing or taping is enough for recovery.

These are the main ligament injuries of the knee and with cartilage injuries common causes  of acute knee injuries.

The Quadriceps and Hamstring muscle group provide power for leg movement but also provide protection and stability for the knee joint. Knee rehabilitation must include strengthening these important muscles. These muscles can be injured too usually with running and kicking sports.

The patella or kneecap forms the patella-femoral joint which as mentioned sits above the knee joint. This area can also be injured while suddenly twisting or turning and responds very well to a taping and strengthening physiotherapy program. Sometimes this joint may dislocate or sublux (partial dislocation).Immobilisation in a splint is often required followed by physiotherapy consisting of taping and strengthening again.

More commonly this area is injured as an overuse injury and known as Runners knee.
An overuse injury results from continuous activity or overload. It starts gradually and usually relates to training methods, footwear and running style or biomechanical factors. A thorough assessment is very important.

The patellar tendon runs from the patella to the leg bone. It is injured, usually with repeated jumping and landing activities.Pain and swelling results making it difficult to play sport. This is commonly known as jumper’s knee and is another common overuse injury of the knee.

Physiotherapy is important to overcome your knee injury whether it is an overuse or acute knee injury. Electrotherapy (Ultrasound and tens) is used to encourage healing and reduce inflammation. Soft tissue and joint therapy as well as exercises, taping and advice regarding avoidance of aggravating factors and return to sport safely is very important.

If  you have an acute knee injury…….

RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) is very important in the first 72 hours of injury, as is early physiotherapy attention.

These are the most common injuries seen around the knee. It is important to examine the knee fully to find out what is injured, so treatments are successful. Sometimes scans are required to show the extent of the injury or if is difficult to diagnose clinically. The amount of swelling and how soon it appears is a good indicator of the severity.

Also how the injury occurred and whether continuation of the activity was possible.

Symptoms such as locking, clicking and giving way of the knee are important to note.

Everyone wants to return to sport quickly following injury but can knee injuries be avoided?

They can by warming up and warming down before and after sport. Gradually increasing sport intensity and duration and backing off if pain starts. This is especially important for overuse knee injuries. Maintaining good leg flexibility, strength and balance is important for all types of knee injuries.

Exercise and sport is great for health and with a little care hopefully injury free.

Good luck!


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