The knee

The knee joint is a bicondylar type synovial joint, which mainly allows for flexion and extension (and a small degree of medial and lateral rotation). It is formed by articulations between the patella, femur and tibia.

Please follow the link for more information about the anatomy of the knee joint.

Common sports injuries of the knee:

  • Torn meniscus - Either of the menisci in either knee can be torn as a result of an aggressive twisting motion, or traumatic contact with the knee. The meniscus can also degenerate over time as a person ages. A person with a torn meniscus may feel knee pain during rest and knee pain that worsens with deep squatting or going down stairs.
  • ACL tear - A torn anterior cruciate ligament often results from a one-time trauma, such as sudden twisting or an impact to the knee. Individuals who suffer an ACL tear will likely be unable to continue competition. They will also likely require an orthopedic consultation.
  • Prepatellar bursitis - inflammation of a bursa at the front of the knee, it results from inflammation and swelling. Develops from repetitive motion or pressure on the knee, such as frequent kneeling on or bending of the joint. Pain will typically lessen with rest but return with activity. Bursitis can also be caused by bacterial infection.
  • Tendonitis and tendinopathy - can affect any tendon in the knee but the most common is the patellar tendon and the quadriceps tendon. Degeneration of a tendon can affect knee strength and mobility as well as cause pain.
  • Distal Iliotibial band syndrome - originates at the outside of the hip, crosses the knee and inserts on the outside of the shin bone. People with IT band friction syndrome typically experience sharp pain at the outside of the knee joint, particularly when the foot hits the ground.
  • Patellofemoral syndrome - the patella (kneecap) does not track correctly within the patellofemoral groove, most commonly results from congenital alignment or hip abductor weakness. Pain from patellar malalignment will be present during athletic activity and particularly exercise that result in repetitive bending of the knee or running activities.

Other conditions of the knee joint:

  • Gout - arises from high uric acid levels within the body and results in inflammation and deposition of uric acid crystals within the synovium (joint capsule). This results in knee stiffness and pain within the knee joint. Gout pain typically comes on quickly, and can become severe in a matter of hours.
  • Pseudogout - similarly to gout, it causes sudden and severe inflammation and pain in the affected joint. It results in calcium pyrophosphate deposition within the synovium (joint capsule).
  • Osteoarthritis - occurs when the hyaline articular cartilage wears away from the ends of a bone. Without the cushioning provided by that cartilage, the bones of the knee joint can rub together during motion and cause pain within the joint.

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