Whether it’s in the front yard or on the field, athletes play to win, but an injury can take them out of the game.
The knee is a complex joint with many different parts that function together to allow movement and provide support to the body’s full weight. Because it is complex and endures much stress and strain during sports, it is vulnerable to injury.
The 3 most common knee injuries in sports include:
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the main ligament that gives the knee its stability. According to the CDC, an ACL injury affects as many as 250,000 individuals in the United States annually. Sudden changes in direction or speed can strain the ACL or in some instances, tear the ligament.
Meniscal tears are one of the most common injuries to the knee joint. They can occur at any age, but are more common in athletes playing contact sports. Similar to an ACL injury, athletes can tear their meniscus by a twisting motion, over flexing the knee joint, pivoting, or sudden stopping or deceleration. In athletes, meniscal tears often occur along with other injuries such as a torn ACL.
Dislocations and fractures most often occur because of acute trauma such as a fall, collision, or severe impact to the knee. The most common broken bone around the knee is the patella, or knee cap. Dislocations occur when the bones in the knee either partially or fully move out of place.
Many knee injuries can be successfully treated with simple measures, such as immobilization, anti-inflammatory medications, rest, and rehabilitation exercises. However, a fracture or severe tear in the ACL or meniscus may require surgery to restore full function to the knee.
Whether in the yard or on the court, knee injuries can happen when playing sports. Warming up before the game, using proper techniques, and safety equipment can help decrease sports-related injuries and keep athletes in the game.