The knee is one of the largest and most complex joints in the body. The knee joins the thigh bone (femur) to the shin bone (tibia). The smaller bone that runs alongside the tibia (the fibula) and the kneecap (patella) are the other bones that make the knee joint.
The knee joint is a “Bi-Planeal” joint moving essentially in ‘two’ directions backwards and forwards – knees do not like moving at angles or diagonals and certainly will collapse if this occurs under intense weight loading.
Tendons connect the knee bones to the leg muscles that move the knee joint and the Ligaments join the knee bones together providing stability to the knee during its designed ’bi-planeal’ range of motion
The anterior cruciate ligament restricts the femur from sliding backward on to the tibia (or the tibia sliding forward on to the femur).
The posterior cruciate ligament prevents the femur from sliding forward on to the tibia (or the tibia from sliding backward on the femur).
The medial and lateral collateral ligaments are designed to prevent the femur from sliding medially and laterally (side to side)
The two C-shaped pieces of cartilage known as the medial and lateral menisci – act as shock absorbers between the femur and tibia.
A series of ‘bursae’, or fluid-filled sacs, help ensure that the knee glides smoothly during dynamic movement.
Your knee joints has a crucial role to play during weight loading by holding up the body’s weight and hence are put through even more pressure when you walk, run or jump.
Knee pain can come from injuries including sprains, swollen or torn ligaments (anterior cruciate ligament or ACL), meniscus or cartilage tears and of course the common runner’s knee.
Sports injuries tend to affect each knee individually – one at a time. Pain in both knees is more common with conditions such as Plantar flexed posture, arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout or pseudo gout, usually later on in life.
This is an overuse injury causing swelling of the tendons, the bands of tissue that connect your bones and muscles. This is sometimes called ‘jumper’s knee’ as it is common in sports involving jumping, such as basketball.
Sometimes, a knee injury can break off fragments from the bone or cartilage. These pieces can get stuck in the joint, causing it to freeze up. You may also have pain and swelling.
Housemaid’s knee or bursitisis
Caused by kneeling for long periods of time or repetitive knee movements. Fluid builds up in the bursa, the sac of fluid that cushions the knee joints. Swelling behind the knee is called a ‘Baker’s cyst’ and may be caused by injuries or arthritis.
Bleeding in the knee joint.
This injury is also called haemarthrosis and affects blood vessels around the knee ligaments causing the knee to feel warm, stiff, bruised and swollen. This may require hospital treatment in severe cases.
Iliotibial band syndrome.
This is an overuse injury to the iliotibial band of tissue that runs from the hip to the shin past the knee…and is controlled and dominated by the Gluteals…during dynamic movement.
This overuse injury affects the plica, a fold of tissue in the knee joint. Causing the knee to track off line…
This overuse condition is common in teenagers playing sport and causes swelling and tenderness over the bony bump just below the knee. It is dictated by the aggression of the growth spurts of the child during hormonal growth.
Partially dislocated kneecap (or patellar subluxation).
This is usually due to a physical condition with the legs rather than a sports injury. The kneecap slides out of position and causes pain and swelling.