Understanding Knee Injuries: Causes, Prevention, and Recovery

Understanding Knee Injuries: Causes, Prevention, and Recovery

The human knee is a marvel of natural engineering, bearing the weight of our bodies while offering a range of motion that is crucial for activities like walking, running, and jumping. Given its complex structure and the constant demands we place on it, the knee is also susceptible to injuries. Understanding knee injuries can empower you to stay active, minimize pain, and speed up recovery. In this blog post, we’ll delve deep into the common types of knee injuries, preventive measures, and ways to ensure effective recovery.

What Are 3 Common Knee Injuries?

What Are 3 Common Knee Injuries?Three common knee injuries are:

1. ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) Tear or Strain

The ACL is one of the four major ligaments in the knee and plays a crucial role in stabilizing the joint. Injuries to the ACL are particularly common among athletes participating in sports that involve sudden stops and changes in direction, such as basketball, soccer, and skiing. An ACL tear is often accompanied by a popping sound, followed by swelling, instability, and pain.

2. Meniscus Tear

The meniscus is a wedge-shaped piece of cartilage that acts as a “shock absorber” between the thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia). Meniscus tears can occur during activities that cause direct contact or pressure from a twisted knee. Symptoms often include pain, swelling, stiffness, and sometimes a locked sensation in the knee.

3. Patellar Tendinitis (Jumper’s Knee)

This is an injury to the tendon connecting the kneecap (patella) to the shin bone. The patellar tendon plays a significant role in the motion of straightening the knee, and this injury is common in sports that require frequent jumping like volleyball and basketball. Symptoms include pain just below the kneecap, especially when jumping, running, or walking up or down stairs.

Each of these injuries has its own set of causes, symptoms, and treatments. If someone suspects they’ve sustained a knee injury, it’s crucial to see a medical professional for proper diagnosis and care.

How Do You Know If A Knee Injury Is Serious?

Identifying the severity of a knee injury often requires professional evaluation. However, certain signs and symptoms can suggest a serious knee injury:

  1. Swelling: Rapid swelling that occurs immediately after an injury often indicates a ligament tear or fracture. Chronic swelling, on the other hand, might be related to overuse or degenerative issues.
  2. Deformity: An obvious deformity of the knee or leg can indicate a serious injury. Such as a bone fracture or dislocation.
  3. Inability to Bear Weight: If you can’t stand or walk without severe pain, or if the knee feels unstable or gives out when you try to use it. Then, it’s a clear sign that you should seek medical attention.
  4. Decreased Range of Motion: A significant limitation in movement or inability to fully straighten or bend the knee can be indicative of a severe injury.
  5. Popping or Grinding: While a popping sound can be harmless if it’s accompanied by pain, swelling, or instability, it may suggest a ligament tear or meniscal injury. Grinding or crunching noises could point to cartilage damage.
  6. Consistent or Severe Pain: Persistent pain, especially when it interferes with your daily activities or sleep, should not be ignored.
  7. Redness or Warmth: If the knee becomes red, warm to touch, or shows signs of an infection (like fever), this may indicate an internal injury or an infection.
  8. Numbness or Tingling: These sensations might indicate nerve involvement or damage.
  9. Visible Bruising: Deep bruising can suggest a significant injury, especially if it’s widespread or develops rapidly.
  10. Locked Knee: If your knee gets stuck in one position and you can’t move it. Then, it might be due to a torn meniscus or other internal injury.

If you or someone you know experiences any of these symptoms, it’s essential to seek medical attention promptly.

What Treatments Can Help In Knee Injuries?

What Treatments Can Help In Knee Injuries?Knee injuries vary in severity and type. And thus, the treatments recommended by medical professionals can differ based on the specific injury. Here’s a general overview of medical treatments available for knee injuries:

R.I.C.E. Method

Especially useful for initial treatment after a knee injury, it stands for:

  • Rest: Allow the injury to heal.
  • Ice: Helps to reduce swelling and pain.
  • Compression: This can prevent additional swelling and provides support.
  • Elevation: Raising the injured leg can decrease swelling.


  • Pain Relievers: Over-the-counter pain medications like acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) can help manage pain.
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): Drugs like ibuprofen (e.g., Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (e.g., Aleve) can reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Corticosteroid Injections: Injections directly into the knee joint can reduce inflammation and provide relief from osteoarthritis symptoms and other inflammatory conditions.


Depending on the injury, different surgical procedures may be recommended:

  • Arthroscopic Surgery: Minimally invasive procedure using small incisions to repair various knee problems like torn ligaments or damaged cartilage.
  • ACL Reconstruction: The torn ACL is replaced with a piece of tendon from another part of the leg or from a donor.
  • Meniscus Repair: Damaged or torn menisci may sometimes be sutured or repaired.
  • Total Knee Replacement (Arthroplasty): Severely damaged knee joints (typically from osteoarthritis) are replaced with artificial parts.
  • Osteotomy: The bone is cut to realign the knee, relieving arthritis symptoms.

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections

This is a newer treatment where a patient’s own blood is processed to concentrate platelets and growth factors, which are then injected into the injured area to promote healing.

  • Hyaluronic Acid Injections: Used to treat osteoarthritis symptoms by adding lubrication to the knee joint.
  • Prolotherapy: An irritant (usually dextrose) is injected into the ligament or tendon to promote healing.

It’s important to note that the best treatment option will depend on the type, severity, and location of the knee injury, the age and activity level of the patient, and other individual factors. A consultation with an orthopedic surgeon or another medical professional is crucial. As they help to determine the most appropriate treatment strategy for a specific injury.

How To Strengthen Knees?

How To Strengthen Knees?Strengthening the knees involves building the muscles around the knee joint, which can provide more support and stability. Here are exercises and guidelines to help strengthen your knees:

Quadriceps Strengthening

  • Straight Leg Raises: Lie on your back, one knee bent and the other straight. Lift the straight leg up about a foot off the ground, hold briefly, then lower.
  • Wall Sits: Lean back against a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slide down the wall into a squatting position, hold, then slide back up.

Hamstring Strengthening

  • Hamstring Curls: Stand near a wall or chair for balance. Bend one knee and try to bring your heel toward your buttock. Hold briefly and then lower the leg.
  • Bridges: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips by squeezing your glutes and pressing through your heels, then lower back down.

Calf Strengthening

  • Calf Raises: Stand upright and push through the balls of both feet to raise your body upward. You can hold onto a wall or chair for support.

Strengthening the Inner Knee

  • Step-Ups: Using a step or a low bench, step up with one foot followed by the other, then step down in the same sequence.
  • Slant Board Squats: Using a slanted board or a wedge, stand with your heels elevated and your toes pointing down. Perform squats in this position.

Stabilizing Exercises

  • Single Leg Balance: Stand on one leg and hold the position. For more challenges, close your eyes or try standing on an unstable surface like a pillow or a balance pad.
  • Lateral Walks with Resistance Band: With a resistance band around your ankles or above your knees, take lateral steps to strengthen the outer hip and thigh muscles.

Flexibility and Mobility

  • Hamstring Stretch: While sitting down, extend one leg and reach forward towards your toes.
  • Quadriceps Stretch: While standing, pull one foot towards your buttock, keeping the knees close together.
  • Calf Stretch: Lean against a wall with one leg bent forward and the other extended back, keeping the heel of the back foot on the ground.

Other Exercises

  • Low-Impact Cardio: Engaging in low-impact cardiovascular exercises like swimming, cycling, or using an elliptical trainer can help improve joint function and strength. Even, without putting undue stress on the knees.
  • Functional Exercises: Movements like squats, lunges, and step-ups are great for knee strength. But it’s crucial to use proper form to avoid injury.
  • Pilates and Yoga: Both can enhance knee stability, flexibility, and overall leg strength.

General Tips:

  • Warm-up: Before doing strengthening exercises, it’s essential to warm up with 5-10 minutes of light cardio, such as walking or cycling.
  • Consistency: Gradually increase repetitions and resistance over time and aim for consistency in your exercise regimen.
  • Listen to Your Body: If exercises cause pain (beyond typical muscle fatigue), consult a physical therapist or fitness expert to ensure you’re using the correct technique or to modify the exercise.

Lastly, consulting with a physical therapist or personal trainer can provide guidance tailored to your needs. And ensure you’re performing exercises correctly.


The human knee, a remarkable intersection of tendons, ligaments, and bones, is indispensable for our mobility but remains vulnerable to injuries. Recognizing the symptoms of severe knee injuries, understanding their medical treatments, and proactively engaging in exercises to bolster knee strength is pivotal for optimal knee health.

Whether you’re an athlete, an active individual, or someone recovering from an injury, prioritizing knee care can be your passport to a life filled with movement, passion, and freedom from debilitating pain.

Remember to consult professionals for tailored advice, and listen to your body. This will ensure a balanced approach to knee wellness. If you’re experiencing Knee pain, physical therapy for knee pain at PhysioMantra can help: Book an online physical therapy session.