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Understanding Knee Injuries: A Physiotherapist's Guide for injury rehabilitation

 






Introduction

We had the honour of being visited by Mr Ranjit, a well-renowned hip and knee specialist, to discuss common injuries and treatments. There some of the important takeaways: knees are remarkable joints that endure tremendous stress and movement throughout our lives. However, they are also vulnerable to various injuries that can significantly impact our mobility and overall well-being. In this article, we'll delve into common knee injuries, including meniscal tears, ACL and PCL injuries, as well as arthritis and osteoarthritis, providing insights and tips for prevention and management.


Meniscal Tears

   Meniscal tears occur when the cartilage in the knee, known as the meniscus, is torn due to sudden twisting or forceful rotation of the knee joint. This injury often results from sports activities or accidents and can cause pain, swelling, and difficulty bending or straightening the knee. Physiotherapy plays a crucial role in the management of meniscal tears, focusing on strengthening the muscles around the knee, improving flexibility, and restoring proper movement patterns.


 ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) Injuries

   ACL injuries are common among athletes and individuals engaged in high-impact sports. They typically occur when the knee is twisted or hyperextended, leading to a tear in the ligament that stabilises the knee joint. Symptoms include sudden pain, swelling, and instability, making it challenging to bear weight on the affected leg. Physiotherapy interventions for ACL injuries focus on regaining strength, stability, and proprioception through targeted exercises and functional training and understanding when surgery is needed. 


PCL (Posterior Cruciate Ligament) Injuries

   PCL injuries are less common but can occur due to direct impact to the front of the knee or from hyperextension. This injury often presents with posterior knee pain, swelling, and instability, particularly during activities that involve bending the knee. Physiotherapy for PCL injuries aims to restore normal knee function through strengthening exercises, manual therapy, and proprioceptive training to improve balance and coordination.

 Arthritis

   Arthritis refers to inflammation of the joints and can affect the knees, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, occurs when the protective cartilage in the knee wears down over time, causing the bones to rub against each other. It commonly affects older adults but can also occur in younger individuals due to factors such as obesity, repetitive stress, or previous knee injuries.Physiotherapy plays a vital role inmanaging arthritis by focusing on pain relief, improving joint flexibility, and enhancing muscle strength to support the knee joint.


Conclusion

Knee injuries can significantly impact our daily lives, but with proper understanding and proactive management, we can mitigate their effects and maintain optimal knee health. Whether it's a meniscal tear, ACL or PCL injury, or arthritis physiotherapy plays a crucial role in rehabilitation and prevention. By staying informed, staying active, and seeking professional guidance when needed, we can keep our knees strong, resilient, and ready for whatever our lifestyle demands 



Caitlin Erlank MSK Physiotherapist BSC, MCSP, HCPC

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