Knee pain is common in athletes who have hurt their knees. There are four major ligaments in the knee: the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), the medial collateral ligament (MCL), and the lateral collateral ligament (LCL) (LCL). Also, the meniscus is often hurt, which makes the knee hurt. There are also conditions like Osgood-Schlatter disease and Adolescent Anterior Knee Pain that can cause knee pain.
The ACL starts at the front of the tibia and ends at the back of the thigh bone. This structure keeps the femur from moving too far back on the tibia. When an athlete quickly changes direction, slows down while running, or lands wrong after a jump, they often tear their ACL. Athletes who ski, play basketball, or play football often get hurt in these ways. A torn ACL can cause moderate to severe pain, which is usually sharp at first and then throbbing or aching as the knee starts to swell. Most people say that their knee pain gets worse when they bend or straighten their knee.
ACL injuries happen much more often than PCL injuries. When an athlete gets hit in the front of the lower leg, just below the knee, or makes a simple mistake on the field, they often hurt their PCL. The PCL keeps the tibia from sliding backwards, and it works with the ACL to keep the knee from turning inwards or outwards. If your PCL is torn, your knee will hurt, move less, and swell up.
Most injuries to the MCL happen when the outside of the knee is hit directly. This kind of injury is more likely to happen to people who play soccer or football. On the inside of the knee, the MCL goes from the top of the tibia to the end of the femur. This structure keeps the joint from getting bigger on the inside. When the MCL is torn, the area around the ligament gets swollen, bruised, and the knee feels like it will give out or buckle.
The LCL joins the top of the fibula to the end of the femur (the smaller shin bone). It is on the side of the knee that faces the outside. The LCL keeps the knee joint from moving too much from side to side. Most LCL tears happen when someone takes a hard fall, is in a car accident, or is playing sports. Depending on how badly the LCL is torn, there may be pain, swelling, trouble bending the knee, and instability in the joint.
The meniscus is the tough, rubbery cartilage between the thigh bone and the shin bone. This structure acts as a cushion against shocks. This cartilage can get torn when an athlete cuts, pivots, twists, slows down, or gets tackled. There are two menisci in the knee. One is on the inside of the joint, while the other is on the outside. When the meniscus in the knee is torn, the knee hurts, swells, makes a popping sound, and can’t move as well.
Disease called Osgood-Schlatter
Osgood-Schlatter disease is a common overuse injury in teenagers who are still growing. The tendon below the kneecap gets inflamed, which leads to this syndrome. This disease is more likely to happen to people who do gymnastics, basketball, running, or soccer. Osgood-Schlatter disease causes the knee to swell, hurt, and feel tender below the knee cap.
Pain in the front of the knee in teens
Young, active teenagers often say that the front and centre of their knees hurt. This is called Adolescent Anterior Knee Pain, and it is not caused by an injury or damage to the knee structures. It’s not clear what causes this syndrome, but experts think that the complicated structure of the knee joint is a factor. When the knee is out of place or used too much, it hurts a lot. Several things are thought to be at play when it comes to teens. These include not being flexible enough, having muscles in the thighs that aren’t balanced, problems with alignment, using the wrong sports training techniques, using the wrong equipment, and doing too much sports.
Symptoms of Adolescent Anterior Knee Pain include pain that starts slowly and gets worse at night, popping sounds coming from the knee when climbing stairs or walking after sitting for a long time, pain when the knee is bent over and over, pain that makes the knee buckle, and pain that comes from changing the level of activity or playing surface.
When to see a doctor!
Seek medical help right away if you:
- Hurt your knees a lot
- Start to limp.
- Look for swelling around the wound.
- Hear something pop or click.
- Feel like your knee will give out?
- You can’t bend your knee
- You can’t stand on your knee
- Have pain in any part of the knee or shinbone
- Have pain when walking, running, or climbing stairs
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