6 Napier Road #02-10 Gleneagles Medical Centre
Singapore 258499


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Types of Knee Injury

Acute Knee Injury

Acute knee injuries are those that occur from a single traumatic event. They may be caused by excessive force placed on a joint, such as a blow to the area, forceful twisting, or force unevenly applied. For the knee, this could be caused by a blow to the lateral or medial side of the knee, forceful twisting of the knee with the foot in a fixed position, landing incorrectly, a forceful blow to the front of the knee, or even a force applied to the upper or lower leg. Tendons in the knee may be injured when the muscles have to act against a force beyond their strength level, especially when it is an explosive force or when the muscles are in a stretched position.

Knee Anatomy

Common acute injuries of the knee include ligament sprains and tears (especially the MCL and ACL), meniscus tears, dislocations of the kneecap or knee joint, LCL and PCL can be strained as well. The patella may be chipped or fractured, as may the head of the femur or tibia.

Acute injuries, if left untreated or if return to activity is too soon, can lead to chronic issues later. A properly treated and rehabilitated acute injury should not have lingering effects. Some injuries respond well to the normal course of R.I.C.E., while other, more severe injuries, may require surgery. In order to have a full return to activity with no lingering effects, it is important to follow the full treatment recommendations for the injury sustained.

Chronic Knee Injury

Chronic knee injuries, on the other hand, usually occur over time due to an improper wear, improper balance, or incorrect form issue. A chronic injury may be the result of an acute injury that was not allowed to heal properly. Muscle imbalances, poor form while doing activities involving the lower body, improper footwear, incorrect gait, or even continuous running on uneven or excessively hard surfaces may also lead to chronic knee injuries.

Although chronic knee injuries develop over time, this does not negate their severity. If allowed to continue they can cause severe pain and disability. The pain of chronic injuries may come and go at first, but over time this may develop into a constant pain that increases in severity with activity. Often, untreated chronic knee injuries lead to an involuntary cessation of activity due to the pain.

Chronic injuries of the knee include bursitis, patellar and quadriceps tendinitis, arthritis, and compartment syndrome (if wraps and braces are used incorrectly or acute injuries are not treated promptly). These injuries can often be avoided, or reversed, by correction of the underlying problem. Most chronic injuries develop as a result of the mistreatment of a correctable problem.

How Are Knee Injuries Classified?

As well as classifying a knee injury as acute or chronic, knee injuries are also classified according to their severity. Injuries are graded into one of three classifications: mild, moderate, and severe.

mild knee injury will result in minimal pain and swelling. It will not adversely affect sporting performance, and the affected area is neither tender to touch nor deformed in any way. Examples of a mild knee injury include minor sprains, strains, and simple overuse injuries like tendinitis.

moderate knee injury will result in some pain and swelling. It will have a limiting effect on sporting performance, and the affected area will be mildly tender to touch. Some discolouration at the injury site may also be present. Examples of a moderate knee injury include partial tearing of ligaments and other soft tissues.

severe knee injury will result in increased pain and swelling. It will affect not only sporting performance, but also normal daily activities. The injury site is usually very tender to touch, and discolouration and deformity are common. Examples of a severe knee injury include dislocations, fractures, and ligament ruptures.

How Are Soft Tissue Knee Injuries Classified?

The term sprain refers to an injury of an ligaments, as opposed to a strain, which refers to an injury of the muscles or tendons. Remember, ligaments attach bone to bone, whereas tendons attach muscle to bone.

Injuries to the ligaments, muscles, and tendons are usually graded into three categories: these types of injury are referred to as Grade 1Grade 2, and Grade 3 sprains and strains.

Grade 1 sprain/strain is the least severe. It is the result of some minor stretching and some tearing of the ligaments, muscles, or tendons. There is increased swelling and pain associated with Grade 2 sprain/strain, and a moderate loss of stability around the knee joint.

A Grade 3 sprain/strain is the most severe of the three. It is the result of a complete tear or rupture of one or more of the ligaments, muscles, and tendons. A Grade 3 sprain/strain will result in massive swelling, severe pain, and gross instability of the knee joint.

Call (+65) 6471 2674 (24 Hour) to make an appointment to see our knee specialist regarding your knee injury today.