How to Prevent the 4 Most Common Knee Injuries
Knee injuries are extremely common and oftentimes preventable. In this article, we’ll go over the most common knee injuries and explain some easy ways to avoid them.
First, you need to know a little bit about the knee. The knee is the largest joint in the body and is responsible for bearing weight and facilitating movement. It’s made up of three bones (the femur, tibia, and patella), meniscus (cartilage), ligaments (tissue that connects bone to bone), muscles (that help the knee move), and tendons (tissue that connects bone to muscle).
4 Most Common Knee Injuries
AKA a broken bone. The patella (i.e., the kneecap) is the most likely of the three bones to fracture. Falling directly on your kneecap is often the culprit for knee fractures.
This injury affects the ligaments, most often the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL). A sprain occurs when a ligament is stretched past its normal range of motion. A strain occurs when the ligament is stretched and torn. These injuries can come as a consequence of twisting the knee or a rapid change in direction, such as during soccer or basketball.
Meniscus (or cartilage) tears happen as a result of the knee turning unnaturally. This can come from playing sports that involve rapid changes in directions that can twist the knee, or even as a result of aging and accidentally moving in an awkward way.
Certain activities such as running can be tough on your knees, especially when the action is repeated often. Overuse is a general term referring to several injuries that can come in response to prolonged activities that are harsh on your knees.
- Always take time to warm up before physical activity and cool down afterwards.
- Keep your leg muscles strong with regular exercise.
- Avoid any sudden changes in the intensity of your workout. Give your body (and your knees specifically) time to adjust whenever you begin more rigorous activities.
- Replace worn out shoes regularly. Running and workout shoes don’t last as long as everyday shoes do. Depending on the shoe and your activity, shoes should be replaced every few months or so. This helps ensure there’s ample support for not only your foot, but your entire leg.
- Wear knee guards, as needed. If you’re playing a sport in which knee guards are necessary, make sure to wear properly fitting guards at all times.
To Take Away
As was mentioned earlier, knee injuries are very common, especially in teens and young adults. In fact, people ages 15-24 have the highest rates of knee injuries. A little bit of thought beforehand can prevent several painful injuries, some of which can take months to recover from.
Orthopaedic Associates of St. Augustine is proud to have the most comprehensive Joint Center in the area. We’ve got a team of highly trained knee specialists that are passionate about helping people get back on their feet and doing the activities they love.
If you’d like to learn more about knee injuries and how to prevent them, talk to your orthopaedic specialist today.
JAMES GRIMES, MD
Board Certifications in Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine. Dr. Grimes specializes in sports medicine and reconstruction of the shoulder, hip and knee.