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Are you struggling with knee injury symptoms?

If yes, your first step should be to see a doctor. But once you’ve had proper medical care, there’s a lot you can do to support your body as you follow your doctor’s advice.

There are several reasons why your knee could be giving you trouble – and several ways you may be able to manage knee injury symptoms.

It’s important to also look at what your knee actually does for you on a daily basis. Your knees allow your legs to bend and extend. These key movements allow you to do all those wonderfully human things like walk, run, jump, squat, rotate, and carry your own body weight.

It’s easy to forget just how much your knee joint actually does for you – until it starts to hurt and limit your capabilities.

In order to assess the type of treatment you require, your doctor will need to determine the cause of your knee discomfort. Read on to learn some possible causes of a knee injury and ways to help manage the symptoms.

Understanding Your Knee Joint

Let’s first look at how a basic knee functions within your leg.

  • knee injury symptoms | LCR HealthThe thigh bone, or femur, sits above the knee. The tibia and fibula are the two long bones in the lower leg, below the knee.
  • The knee joint joins the femur to one of those lower bones – the tibia. Then, you have a kneecap, or patella.
  • Ligaments join those bones of the knee together, while tendons connect the knee bones to the other leg muscles.
  • Cartilage in the knee acts as a shock absorber.

Together, this complex system allows your knee joint to move freely.1

What Causes Knee Deterioration In The Aging Population?

People of any age can be affected by knee injury symptoms, but as you age, there are more factors at play:

  • Muscles and knee ligaments get weaker.
  • Your joints become more restricted as flexibility decreases.
  • The cushioning of your cartilage begins to naturally break down, which can lead to joint issues.

What Are Some Common Conditions That Cause Knee Injuries?

You may have heard of some of these complex-sounding knee injuries before. Here’s what they mean:

ACL Injury – This is an injury or sprain to the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), which runs diagonally down the front of the knee. This cruciate ligament is essential for providing stability to the knee.

PCL Injury – The Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) is located at the back of the knee. It’s a ligament that helps to connect the femur (thighbone) to the tibia (shinbone).

MCL Injury – The Medial Collateral Ligament is a sprain or tear to a ligament on the inside of your knee. This ligament also connects your femur to your tibia, but its key job is to stop your knee from bending inward. Medial knee ligament tears are common in skiers, though any sudden twist could sprain your MCL.

Meniscal Tears – Meniscal injuries are basically torn cartilage in the knee. These tears may happen slowly due to aging (degenerative meniscal tears), or from a sudden injury. A severe injury usually prompts a popping sound, followed by discomfort, swelling, and tightness.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome – The iliotibial band is a thick band of connective tissue that runs down the outside of the knee. It can sometimes rub against the knee joint, creating irritation.

Jumper’s Knee – An irritation of the patellar tendon that connects your patella (kneecap) to your tibia (shinbone). This patella tendon irritation can weaken your tendon and lead to tears.

Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis – Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis are common in the knee. Knee osteoarthritis is more of a degenerative type of arthritis that occurs with aging. Rheumatoid arthritis is considered an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks and damages soft tissues. Both cause discomfort, swelling, and stiffness.3-5

How Do I Manage Wear and Tear of Leg Joints?

No one can stop the aging process, nor the wear and tear of just getting around each day. But, you can certainly give yourself the best chance possible at avoiding knee discomfort.

Here are some of the ways in which you can best manage the wear and tear that you put on your knee joints and ligaments.

1. Keep Surrounding Muscles Strong

Strong surrounding muscles support and stabilize your knee joint. They also help to take the pressure off your knees. So, make sure that both your quadriceps and hamstrings are getting plenty of strength training.

A physical therapist can design an exercise program that’s unique to your body and limitations. This program may include exercises like squats and step-ups, which engage both the quadriceps and hamstrings.

Always talk to a doctor before adding a new exercise to your routine, especially if you’re worried about the impact it may have on your body, or if you’re starting to exercise for the first time.

knee injury symptoms | LCR Health

2. Maintain Flexibility

Flexibility deteriorates with age, but this doesn’t mean you’ll lose your entire range of motion. There are plenty of flexible octogenarians out there proving that age doesn’t necessarily define flexibility.

While it’s true that joints get stiffer with age, the more you use those joints, the more likely they are to retain their range of motion. So, you should also work with a physical therapist to design exercises that enhance flexibility in your quadriceps, hamstrings, and knee joints.

3. Lose Any Excess Weight

One of the greatest unnecessary pressures you can put on your knees is your own body weight. For every pound you’re overweight, you’re putting four pounds of pressure on your joints.

Do your best to keep your weight within the healthy range for your height and weight and you’ll not only take better care of your knees, but also your heart.6 Talk to your doctor about the best way for YOU to reach, or maintain a healthy body weight.

Physical Therapy for Knee Injury Patients

Physical therapy is a great way to manage an injured knee. A physical therapist or sports medicine specialist will review a patient’s injury and provide them with exercises that can help the injury to heal.

knee injury symptoms | LCR HealthThey can also provide further advice if they believe a patient may need to take things further – such as getting magnetic resonance imaging (an MRI scan), knee arthroscopy to better view the injury, or wearing a knee brace.

Relieve An Injured Knee

Understanding a knee injury can be challenging, as there are so many different types of injuries that can occur in this joint.

If your knee is giving you trouble for more than a day, visit your doctor or physical therapist. Physical therapy is always a great way to ensure that a knee injury doesn’t get any worse. In fact, it’s never too early to visit a physical therapist for an injured knee.

Learn More:
10 Easy, Low Impact Exercises
Study Shows That Joint Health Can Affect Your Heart
Underwater Treadmill: The Future of Physical Therapy?