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Knee Injury (cont.)

What Are the Types and Causes of Knee Injuries?

While direct blows to the knee will occur, the knee is more susceptible to twisting or stretching injuries, taking the joint through a greater range of motion than it can tolerate.

If the knee is stressed from a specific direction, then the ligament trying to hold it in place against that force can stretch or tear. These injuries are called sprains. Sprains are graded as first, second, or third degree based upon how much damage has occurred. Grade-one sprains stretch the ligament but don't tear the fibers; grade-two sprains partially tear the fibers, but the ligament remains intact; and grade-three tears completely disrupt the ligament.

Twisting injuries to the knee put stress on the cartilage or meniscus and can pinch them between the tibial surface and the edges of the femoral condyle, potentially causing tears.

Injuries of the muscles and tendons surrounding the knee are caused by acute hyperflexion or hyperextension of the knee or by overuse. These injuries are called strains. Strains are graded similarly to sprains, with first-degree strains stretching muscle or tendon fibers but not tearing them, second-degree strains partially tearing the muscle tendon unit, and third-degree strains completely tearing it.

There can be inflammation of the bursas (known as bursitis: itis=inflammation) of the knee that can occur because of direct blows or chronic use and abuse.

Anatomically, many of the structures that support the knee are interconnected. A knee that is injured may cause damage to one or more structures depending upon the mechanism.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/17/2016

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