Types of knee injuries
Acute injuries: Result from a sudden trauma, such as an awkward fall, collision or twist of the knee joint.
Overuse injuries: Results from continuous activity or overload, such as running, cycling, weight training or tramping. These injuries occur gradually and usually relate to a range of factors such as structural or biomechanical problems, training methods, footwear technique or running style.
The ligaments and menisci (cartilage) of the knee may be injured.
Ligament sprain (or tear): Ligaments stabilise or strengthen joints. Over stretching can cause tears to the ligament fibres, resulting in pain, swelling, loss of movement and giving way.
Cartilage (meniscal) tears: The knee cartilages also provide stability to the knee joint. They are mostly torn during weight-bearing activities that involve twisting and turning. A torn cartilage results in pain swelling and locking or catching of the joint.
Management tips: Many injuries may be successfully treated without surgery by physiotherapy treatment and supervised rehabilitation. If damage is severe, surgery may be required. We work closely with medical practitioners, sports physicians and orthopaedic surgeons to assist recovery and rehabilitation.
These are much more common than acute injuries, and usually affect the patella-femoral joint or patellar tendon. If left untreated they often get progressively worse. Early diagnosis and treatment may result in a quicker recovery and less pain.
Patello-femoral syndrome (knee cap pain): Affects approximately 20% of the population and is associated with activities such as bending squatting or stair climbing.
Patella tendinopathy: The patella tendon joins the thigh muscles to the leg bone. Injury to this tendon may be known as “jumpers knee” because it commonly occurs with repeated jumping and landing activities (basketball, volleyball).
Management tips: Physiotherapy treatment is essential to reduce the pain and disability associated with overuse knee injuries. In addition, we are well trained to address potential aggravating factors that may have contributed to the development of the overuse injury such as biomechanical issues and muscle imbalance.
How physio can help
Recovery can start very early after an injury. Physiotherapy techniques will help reduce the time that your knee is painful and movement is restricted so that you can get back to work and sport more quickly. Rehabilitation also facilitates good quality ligament repair and the return of normal muscle and nerve function.
Your physiotherapist will examine your knee to determine the type, extent and causes of your injury and can order an x-ray or refer you to a sports doctor if needed. Early treatment will reduce any pain or swelling.
Special techniques called mobilisations may help to increase the movement of your knee joint (if required) improving your recovery. Your physiotherapist will teach you exercises to improve the strength of the knee and other lower leg muscles to enhance your recovery and help prevent further injuries.