The Knee - Part 2 (Injuries)
In The Knee - Part 1 (Anatomy) I reviewed the complex nature of the knee joint. While I was familiar with the workings of the joint, I have to admit that I was awestruck by its structure. It was designed to withstand many of the physical challenges of life but not all of what we’re demanding of it today. Hence, the multiple knee injuries that we are suffering from.
As with any joint there is dislocation; and because there are bones involved there are fractures. Both of those tend to occur as a result of extreme trauma like falling from significant heights or car accidents. The more common type of traumatic knee injuries are:
ACL tears (Anterior Cruciate Ligament)
LCL/MCL/PCL injuries (Lateral Collateral Ligament/Medial Collateral Ligament/Posterior Cruciate Ligament)
Tendon tears (Quadricep or Patella)
Many of these injuries happen during activities where there are directional changes or unstable surfaces. The knee is a hinge joint that can rotate slightly from side to side, and it bears all of our weight. During sports that involve running, jumping and directional changes the knee becomes vulnerable when it’s pushed beyond its natural limits. Something has to stretch or tear resulting in the injury.
There are also injuries that result from repetitive use. A few are:
Patellofemoral Syndrome (Runner’s Knee)
Illiotiial Band (IT) Syndrome
Lastly, we can’t forget about the pain that comes along with aging like the various types of arthritis. There’s osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis to name a couple. There are several other conditions as well but that may be enough scary news for now.
These injuries and conditions are treatable through surgeries and therapies. No matter what, the knee joints, just like the rest of our bodies change over time. Wear and tear is inevitable. The secret is to keep them working well through exercise, diet and rest. There are replacement parts, but they are never as good as the originals.
Something to think about.
Laurie Sweig is a certified personal fitness trainer and spinning instructor. She owns and operates The Point for Fitness. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.