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Common Knee Injuries

Physio Action

Posted by Simon Keepa on 14 June 2021

Common Knee injuries

Your knee is the largest joint in your body. The bones of your knee are separated by two strong rubbery discs of cartilage called meniscus. Your thigh bone (femur), and shin bones (tibia and fibula) are joined by ligaments, tendons, and muscles.

Your bones are covered by articular cartilage that absorbs shock and provides a smooth, gliding surface for joint movement.

Sudden knee injury often happens after a fast twisting action. Pain in your knee can be very mild or very severe, depending on how your injury happened. Pain and swelling are the most common signs of knee injury. It might feel like your knee is catching or locking up. You might feel unstable, like your knee is giving way.

Knee pain is a common complaint that affects people of all ages. Knee pain is often the result of an injury, such as a ruptured ligament, torn cartilage, or tendinitis. But it can also be related to inflammatory conditions such as Osteoarthritis.

Many types of minor knee pain respond well to self-care measures. Physiotherapy also helps relieve knee pain and restore function. In some cases, however, your knee may need a review with an orthopaedic specialist.

The location and severity of knee pain may vary, depending on the cause of the problem. Signs and symptoms that sometimes accompany knee pain include:

  • Swelling and stiffness

  • Redness and warmth to the touch

  • Weakness or instability

  • Popping or crunching noises

  • Inability to fully straighten the knee (locking)


Seeing a physiotherapist is advised if you:

  • Can't bear weight on your knee or feel as if your knee is unstable

  • Have marked knee swelling

  • Are unable to fully extend or flex your knee

  • See an obvious deformity in your leg or knee

  • Have severe knee pain that is associated with an injury

Common Injuries

A knee injury can affect any of the ligaments, tendons, joints, or fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that surround your knee joint as well as the bones, cartilage and ligaments that form the joint itself. Some frequently seen knee injuries relating to accidents are listed below, and will all benefit from treatment with a physiotherapist. 

  • Medial Cruciate Ligament (MCL) sprain

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury 

  • Strained or Torn meniscus

  • Patellofemoral Joint sprain

  • Patella tendinitis (Jumper's knee)

Arthritis (Osteoarthritis)

There are many different forms of arthritis. But mostly commonly seen in the knee is Osteoarthritis. Sometimes labelled a degenerative change, osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It's a wear-and-tear condition that occurs when the cartilage that lines the surfaces of your bones deteriorates with use and age.

Osteoarthritis can affect several key places inside our knee joint, more commonly seen on the inside of the knee. While we can't get get rid of osteoarthritis in the knee (unless we opt for a total knee joint replacement), we can manage the symptoms and ensure a good level of function is maintained  


Depending on your knee injury, your physiotherapist will have a number of treatment options available to help you restore your function, and reduce your pain. Treatment options may include:

  • Strengthening

  • Stretching

  • Massage

  • Taping or bracing

  • Shockwave therapy

  • Recommendations on activity modification