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Common Knee Injuries in Athletes

Your knee is the largest joint in your body, and bends thousands of times a day. Every time you step or flex your leg, you are engaging delicate muscles, bones, cartilage, and tendons surrounding the knee. Athletes put a significant amount of pressure on their knees, and as a result, can experience a wide range of knee injuries.

As professional physiotherapists, we have seen all sorts of knee injuries. Here are some of the most common in athletes:

Fractures
The patella, or knee cap, is one of the most frequently broken parts of the knee in athletes. It is a thick bone that moves with the femur and protects the knee joint. Broken patellas are often caused by high energy trauma—like falling from significant heights, a high impact landing, or heavy blow to the knee.

The most common symptoms of knee fractures are excessive pain, tenderness, and swelling. Your knee may also give the feeling of “locking up” when you try to walk.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tears
Most of us have heard of at least one athlete tearing their ACL—the ligament which connects your femur to your tibia. ACL tears are common in sports that involve running or abrupt stopping and turning, like soccer, football, and tennis.

Symptoms of a torn ACL include a loud popping sound in the knee, swelling, severe pain, the inability to walk, and loss of range of motion.

Dislocation
A dislocated knee occurs when the patella, or knee cap, is knocked out of place. This injury is common in sports involving running and jostling, like basketball, lacrosse, and hockey. A dislocated knee is often accompanied by injury in other parts of the knee, like an ACL or meniscus tear.

An athlete with a dislocated knee can experience a deformed looking knee or leg, swelling, a visibly dislocated patella, and pain or tenderness.

Jumpers Knee
Also known as patellar tendonitis, this injury is caused by overuse of the knee, especially in a running or jumping motion. Patellar tendonitis involves the inflammation or degeneration of the patella tendon, and is a common injury in sports like track and field, football, volleyball, and soccer.

An athlete inflicted with jumpers knee might experience weakness in the calf, stiffness in the knee, pain directly below the knee cap, and pain when bending the knee.

Athletes require a certain level of physical fitness, and place a high demand on their bodies. Muscles, tendons, bones, and ligaments are put under great stress, both in training and competition. It’s important to know what symptoms to watch for when it comes to knee injuries.

If you think you might have a sports-related knee injury, contact Pro Care Physiotherapy today. We will work with you to alleviate your pain and tailor your program to fit your specific needs


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