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Knee Injuries

Knee injuries are common, especially when taking part in sports that demand running, jumping and quick changes of direction, such as football. It is common to incur damage to the ligaments, cartilage and tendons. Damage to the bones is also possible but less frequent.

 

1) Runner's Knee

Runner’s Knee is the name given to Ilio Tibial Band Friction Syndrome (ITBFS). It is a painful overuse injury which frequently affects runners and cyclists, where the repetitive action of these sports places strain on the knee.

It manifests as pain at the front of the knee, which worsens with continued physical exercise. Any sharp pain felt during movement is also indicative of Runner’s Knee.

Treatment commences with resting the knee and cold therapy. This should be followed by physiotherapy to reduce inflammation and correct any underlying alignment issues which may be affecting the condition.

In some mild cases a knee strap can relieve symptoms during running.

 

2) Knee Ligament Injury

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is a tough band of tissue which connects the thigh bone to the shin bone through the knee joint. Tearing the ACL is a fairly common injury in sports, as a result of the lower leg being extended forwards too much, sudden twisting or changes of direction. Direct contact to the knee during sports can also cause this.

If the ACL has been torn the knee often becomes unstable and loses its full range of movement. There may also be knee pain, swelling and snapping sensations within the knee.

 In many circumstances a knee brace can be used to support the knee. However surgery would be required in order for sports players to resume playing with sufficient stability and the full range of movement. This consists of grafting tissue onto the torn ligament.

Recovery from surgery usually takes about six months and a good programme of physiotherapy should follow in order to rehabilitate the knee.

 

3) Patella Fracture (Broken Knee Cap)

A Patella Fracture is usually caused by a direct blow to the kneecap, usually resulting from a fall or contact to the knee during sport.

A Patella Fracture will result in intense knee pain immediately after the injury and the area surrounding the joint will become swollen. The patient will usually be unable to bend the knee.

Medical attention should be sought immediately. If the fracture is in the form of a small crack usually treatment consists of immobilising the knee joint in a plaster cast for 6 weeks. If the fracture is more severe, for example if the knee cap has been fragmented, surgery may be needed to restore the fragments to their original position.

Rehabilitation consists of physiotherapy to reduce inflammation and pain as well as helping normal knee function to return.

Wearing a knee brace can help to provide warmth and support, reducing any lasting knee pain, even after the fracture has healed.

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