“ACL” and “MCL” are acronyms for, respectively, “anterior cruciate ligament” and “medial collateral ligament.” Both are the most frequently injured knee ligaments. An ACL-related injury, which is the more serious of the two, results from decelerating, hyperextending, and pivoting the knee. Symptoms of ACL knee injuries include pain, not being able to put weight on the knee, and a “popping” sound which is followed by swelling. A MCL-related injury occurs when the side of knee is hit by direct impact. Symptoms of MCL knee injuries include pain, bruising, swelling, and a general feeling of instability within the knee. Both types of injuries may be diagnosed using a combination of physical exam, X-rays, and an MRI scan. Treatment for ACL-related injuries requires intensive rehabilitation to help build the strength of the hamstring and even surgery. The treatment for MCL – related injuries often requires just resting the knee, bracing and medication. Sometime PT is done to rehabilitate following the MCL healing.”
The tissues that connect bones within the body are “ligaments.” And when ligaments connected to the knee undergo strain, the results are painful and limiting. Knee ligament strain can result from an increase in activity, such as running or walking more than usual, or direct impact and injury. Symptoms include sudden pain that intensifies when weight or pressure is put on the affected leg, and a swelling of the knee within a 24-hour period of the injury. A knee ligament strain may be diagnosed through a physical exam, X-rays, or MRI scans. If the strain is not too severe, treatment options may require simply icing, compressing the knee, and wearing a brace. If the strain is serious, however, and affects a crucial ligament, surgery may be necessary.
A “meniscus” is fibrous thin cartilage that is between the surfaces of joints in the body, including the knees. As with many other orthopedic conditions, knee meniscus tears can be the result of sudden injury or from gradual wear and tear as a person gets older. As the meniscus wears thin, it is more at risk of tearing from even the slightest injury. Symptoms of knee meniscus tears include swelling, pain and stiffness when trying to flex and extend the knee. Knee meniscus tears may be diagnosed through a physical exam, X-rays, or MRI scans. Treatment options for this injury include rest, applying ice packs, and physical therapy. If the tear to the meniscus is severe, surgery may be necessary.
Regardless of whether or not someone is a health enthusiast who jogs and runs on a regular basis, “runner’s knee” is a condition that can affect anyone. The term “runner’s knee” covers a number of related issues that can be the result of anything from repeated bending of the knee during high-impact exercises to an injury from sudden impact. Other causes of runner’s knee include malalignment of the lower extremities, flat feet, and weakened thigh musclest. The primary symptom is a painful feeling around the knee, swelling or “popping” sound. Runner’s knee may be diagnosed through a physical exam or X-rays. Treatment options include rest, applying ice, wrapping the knee with an elastic bandage, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Physical therapy and light stretching exercises may also be helpful.
When someone experiences pain or discomfort along the tibia (or the shinbone), he or she has what is known as “shin splints.” This condition develops if the muscles, tissue, and tendons of the shinbone become overused from any intense and repeated exertion of the lower legs. The primary symptom is pain and swelling in the inner part of the shinbone. Treatment options include rest, applying ice, and avoiding putting too much pressure on the shinbone. The pain and discomfort from shin splints may subside, but it should be monitored to prevent the possibility of leading to a stress fracture.