Sprains, Strains & Tears
The most common injuries to the knee are the result of wrenching and twisting forces or a traumatic blow to the joint and most often involve only the soft tissues of the knee — the ligaments, tendons, muscles, and the cartilage or menisci. The types of injuries that may result include a sprain, in which the tissues are “pulled” beyond their normal elastic limits, or a tear or rupture, usually caused by a twisting force while the knee is bearing weight. There may be a partial or complete tear of the structure and in some cases, an accompanying fracture or splintering of bone tissue at the site of bone and soft-tissue connection.
Sprained ligaments are among the most common injuries associated with sports. The signs and symptoms of a sprained or torn ligament include a sensation of a “pop” within the joint upon impact, a lack of stability when you try to stand on the affected leg, pain, swelling, and reduced mobility of the joint. Similar symptoms are experienced when there is a tear or rupture of a tendon or cartilage, and the joint may produce a “clicking” sound during movement. In some cases, the knee “locks,” and mobility of the joint is reduced.
Minor injuries to the soft tissues of the knee may respond well to first aid (the RICE formula). If symptoms persist for more than one or two weeks, a physician should be consulted.