Signs Of A Knee Injury
Posted on Jun 23, 2022

Your knee is one of the largest and strongest joints in your body. The knee supports nearly the entire weight of your body and even minor injuries have potential to cause significant pain and major disruptions to everyday life. (But, the human body also has the potential to heal many injuries if given the right circumstances.) The causes of knee injuries can vary dramatically. These can be sports-related, on-the-job injuries, or normal use injuries in older adults. Today we are going to touch on the signs and symptoms you might experience in 4 common knee injuries.

Symptoms of Knee Strain or Sprain

  • Stiffness of the knee
  • Aching in the knee
  • Pain in the knee but not the leg, hip, and/or foot
  • Swelling is often, but not always, associated

A strain or sprain of the knee is often classified as a minor injury to the muscle tendons or the ligaments. A sprain is the stretching and/or tearing of a ligament. A strain is an injury to the muscles or tendons. These terms are often used interchangeably. (Technically, strain is a deformity of a material due to a force application.)  

Symptoms of Knee Ligament Tear

  • Pain in the knee
  • Swelling in the knee
  • Instability of the knee
  • Popping sound in the knee

Ligament tears are very common in the world of sports. These injuries typically occur when the ligament is overextended or moves in an unnatural way. The most common ligament injuries are the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).

Symptoms of Knee Meniscus Tear

  • Pain in the knee
  • Swelling in the knee
  • Effusion is usually associated
  • Clicking, popping or locking may happen

Meniscus tears occur most commonly with jumping and with twisting and pivoting motions of the knee. These tears are very common in sports where athletes change direction abruptly like volleyball, football, and soccer. Meniscus tears can also occur over time from normal wear and tear. In fact, it is basically normal to have a degenerative meniscus tear once you hit age 40-60.

Traumatic meniscus tears generally only happen in the young and from a tremendous amount of force.  

Symptoms of Knee Tendon Injury

  • Pain in the knee
  • Knee tenderness
  • Decreased mobility of the knee
  • Decreased strength of the knee

Knee tendon tears are very common and happen more frequently in middle-aged people who are active in running and jumping. Landing awkwardly from a jump is one of the most common causes of tendon injuries in the knee. These are quite common in court-based sports like basketball as well. The patellar and quadriceps tendons are most often involved. For the hamstring, the muscle or the myotendinous junction tears most often. Hamstring injuries are common in sprinters and football players.  

Do You Need To See A Doctor?

Most knee pain and injuries may go away with the home treatment of the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). You should seek non-emergency medical attention if knee pain does not subside with home treatment. Urgent medical care should be sought if the knee is red, warm, and accompanied by a fever as this indicates there may be a serious infection.

You should also seek immediate medical care for the following scenarios:

  • Immediate swelling
  • Bony deformities
  • Inability to bear weight
  • Pain is unbearable
  • Foot and ankle are cold and pulse cannot be felt
  • Loss of feeling below the injury
  • Large lacerations or other wounds

This is a guideline of course, ask your physician if you have further questions