Athletic Knee Injury
The knee is the largest joint in the body, and one of the most easily injured. Because many sports like football, skiing, soccer, running, and basketball require intense use and manipulation of the knee area, it is a common area for athletes of all abilities to injure.
The knee is made up of four main parts: bones, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons. Common knee injuries include fractures, dislocations, sprains, and ligament tears. In many cases, the injury will affect more than one structure in the knee. Pain and swelling are the most common signs of knee injury. The knee may also “catch” or lock up. Instability in the knee makes it feel like it is weak or giving way.
To diagnose knee injuries, a doctor will complete a physical exam and order x-rays or other imaging studies. Arthroscopy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure, can also be used to view the joint and make more specific diagnoses.
Many knee injuries can be successfully treated with simple measures, such as rest, icing, compression or bracing, and elevation. When pain and swelling subside, physical therapy and rehabilitation can help strengthen the area. Other injuries may require surgery. Arthroscopy allows a doctor to make some repairs while viewing the area. If there is a complicated injury affecting a number of knee structures, open surgery may be needed.Previous Page Last Review Date: January 4, 2018