The knee is formed by the lateral collateral (LCL), the medial collateral (MCL), the posterior cruciate (PCL) and the anterior cruciate (ACL). The later, holds the tibia in place by crossing over the knee so that it does not interrupt the femur. The ACL also gives stability and rotational mobility to the knee. An ACL injury can occur from changing directions too quickly or without proper stretching before training, decreasing the speed as one runs and from jump landings.
The Medial Collateral (MCL) forms part of the knee. Injuries to the MCL are usually due to high impact such as a direct blow to the outer knee.
Along with the medial collateral (MCL), the Lateral Collateral (LCL) and the anterior cruciate, the posterior cruciate (PCL) form the knee. PCL injuries occur from direct hits to the front side of the knee or tripping during high impact sports, landing on the front of the knees.
Torn cartilage in the knee is also commonly referred to as a torn meniscus. The meniscus is a type of rubbery cartilage that is used to absorb impacts to the knee. Tearing of the meniscus can occur by twisting the knee, pivoting incorrectly, decelerating movements, being tackled and cutting.
Fractures of the Proximal Tibia
A fracture of the proximal tibia can occur from either the result of a high or low energy injury. High energy injuries include auto accidents while low energy injuries may include falling down. Other causes of this fracture may come as a result of incorrect limb alignment, smaller breaks from repetitive activities and weak bones.
Growth Plate Fractures
Growth plate fractures are injuries that are unique to children. The growth plates are tissue that are located at the ends of the bones in order to determine the length of the bone. Once the child has matured into adulthood, this cartilage ossifies. This area is vulnerable, thereby allowing different types of fractures to occur such as separation of the entire growth plate from the bone, the breaking off of the growth plate and part of the bone shaft, part break off of the growth plate and bone and the compression of the growth plate.
Patellar (Kneecap) Fractures
Patellar Kneecap fractures are quite common since the kneecap protects the knees in the case of a fall for example. The types of fractures vary since the kneecap can break in more than one place and at the superior, inferior and center of the patella. Such fracture types include stable fracture, displaced fracture, comminuted fracture and an open fracture.
Pediatric Thighbone (Femur) Fracture
Since children’s bones are still developing, a forceful impact to the child’s femur or thighbone can break the bone, causing a pediatric thighbone fracture.
Shinbone Fractures Overview
Shinbone fractures are when the tibia bone breaks. Some of the most common tibia fractures include growth plate fractures, toddler’s fractures, open fractures, closed fractures and stress fractures.
Stress fractures come as a result of overworking an area of your body. Your muscles are so tired that they can no longer absorb the shock of impacts which means that the bones begin to take on these impacts. Little by little, there are small breaks in the bone. These cracks in the bone caused by repetitive activities and injuries is known as a stress fracture.
Thighbone (Femur) Fracture
A thighbone fracture is quite difficult since it takes immense force to break the strongest bone in the body. Only high energy injuries such as an automobile accident, motorcycle accident or a long fall can do such damage.
Tibia (Shinbone) Shaft Fractures
A tibia or shinbone shaft fracture takes a great deal of force to break and will normally be one of multiple injuries sustained during a high energy impact. This fracture is found all throughout the length of the shinbone, anywhere from the top of the ankle to just below the knee.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
The most common knee injury involves the anterior cruciate ligament, ACL, which can either be sprained or torn. The severity of a sprain varies from over stretching the ligament, the loosening of the ligament and when the ligament is completely torn into two pieces.
Collateral Ligament Injuries
The collateral ligaments are located on the sides of your knees and can be injured through a rapid, hard muscle contraction, improper movement without stretching or a direct blow to the knee. A collateral ligament injury is divided into three categories of strains; the over stretching of the ligament, the loosening of the ligament or a partial tear, and a complete tear of the ligament where it is completely divided.
Combined Knee Ligament Injuries
The knee is one of the most important, overused and largest joints in your body. Due to its complex structure and use, it is common that one may be affected by a combined knee ligament injury. Such injuries include the stretching of the knee ligament which is minor and more serious combined knee ligament injuries such as partial or total tears of the ligament where the ligament is separated into two pieces.
The meniscal can tear in a variety of manners. Such tears include bucket handle, parrot beak, mixed and longitudinal tears to the meniscus. These tears occur due to weakened cartilage, twisting improperly, high impact to the knee area and other related sharp movements.
Patellar Tendon Tear
The patella tendon is necessary to straighten your legs and therefore functions alongside the muscles in the front of your leg. Patella tendon tears are either partial or complete tears of the area. A partial tear of the tendon is anywhere from the overstretching to the loosening of the tendon whereas a complete tear rips the tendon into two pieces, disrupting the surrounding soft tissue.
Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Tear
A posterior cruciate ligament tear is less common in terms of knew injuries because this ligament is located in the back of the knee and prevents the Tibia from extending too far backwards. It takes immense force to tear the posterior cruciate ligament. Most tears are partial tears but it is also possible to split the ligament in two creating a complete tear.
Quadriceps Tendon Tear
The Quadriceps tendon’s purpose is to help straighten the leg. With this type of injury, you can either partially tear the tendon or completely tear it which means that the tendon is no longer attached to the quadriceps muscle. Heavy lifting with pressure on the leg can cause the tendon to tear as well as landings from falls, direct impact on the knee, lacerations, weak tendons, tendonitis, immobilization and using fluoroquinolones.
An unstable kneecap is when the knee cap slips out of the femur socket groove causing pain in the knee. This can come as a result of an oddly shaped femur groove or a hard impact to the knee which can dislocate the patella partially or completely.
Runner's Knee (Patellofemoral Pain)
Runner’s knee is a general term used for athletes who have pain in the front of their knee which can cover conditions normally associated with athletes such as chondromalacia patella, patellofemoral malalignment and anterior knee pain syndrome. Patellofemoral pain is caused by excessive stress and irritation of the soft tissue around the front side of the knee creating pain.
Shin splits are also known as medial tibial stress syndrome and it is caused by repetitive exercise. Pain occurs all throughout the tibia bone due to the inflammation and swelling of the periosteum which covers the tibia bone and the surrounding muscles and tendons.
Knee Tendon Bursitis
Knee tendon bursitis is also commonly referred to as pes anserine bursitis. Knee tendon bursitis is characterized by tenderness, swelling and pain around the sides of the knee and about 2.5 inches below the knee joint. This can be caused by obesity, overuse of the joint, osteoarthritis a meniscus tear or the tightening of the hamstring muscles.
Arthritis of the Knee
Arthritis is characterized by the swelling of the joint. The knee is the largest joint in the body and can be affected by three types of arthritis: Rhematoid arthritis, post traumatic arthritis and osteoarthritis. In these cases there are varying levels of pain and discomfort, swelling, inflammation and pain.
Compartment syndrome is a serious and painful medical condition which creates pressure in the muscles and restricts blood flow, oxygen and nourishment from the nerves and muscles. If there is bleeding or swelling, the fascia cannot stretch which creates pressure in the area and cuts off vital elements. If gone untreated, permanent damage can occur. There are acute and chronic cases of compartment syndrome.