Knee Injuries

By Channing Fang

Types of Knee Injuries

  • Knee Sprains/Strains
  • Knee Bursitis
  • Tears in the Meniscus
  • Knee Joint Dislocation
  • Knee Fractures

Knee Sprains/Strains

Knee strains occur when tendons or muscles surrounding the knee are stretched, usually due to hyperflexion or hyperextension of the knee. Knee sprains are injuries to the ligaments that hold the knee together. There are multiple ligaments that stabilize the knee and keep it in alignment.


Medication such as such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling,and pain. Support devices such as an elastic bandage, splint, brace, or cast may be needed. These devices limit movement and protect your joint while it heals. You may be given crutches to use until you can stand on your injured leg without pain.

Knee Bursitis

Knee bursitis occurs when a fluid-filled pouch called a bursa in the knee is irritated, inflamed, or infected. Bursae are fluid-filled sacs located around joints that act as shock absorbers that minimize the friction between various tissues, such as the muscles and tendons around the joints.


The treatment of any bursitis depends on whether or not it involves infection. Bursitis can be treated with ice compresses, rest, and anti-inflammatory and pain medications. Occasionally, it requires aspiration of the bursa fluid.

Tears in the Meniscus

Tears of the meniscus can occur from damage to the inside of the knee. The medial and lateral menisci are semi-round pieces of cartilage that act as shock absorbers and smooth cushions for the thighbone. These menisci can be injured acutely or can become dysfunctional gradually due to overuse and/or aging


Nonsurgical treatment with rest, ice, compression, elevation, and physical therapy. This may include wearing a temporary knee brace. Surgical treatment can sow the tear back together or partial meniscectomy which is surgery to remove the torn area, total meniscectomy, which is surgery to remove the entire meniscus. This is generally avoided, because this option increases the risk for osteoarthritis in the knee.

Knee Joint Dislocation

Knee joint dislocation can occur due to high-impact, large-force injuries to the knee such as sports or vehicular accidents. This is a rare injury but causes severe damage to all the anatomical components of the knee and can include damage to the blood vessels and nerves about the knee this requires emergency treatment or surgery.


If the patella has been shifted completely outside of its groove, the first step will be returning it to its normal position. This process is called reduction and can sometimes happen spontaneously. If not, a doctor can push the patella back in place. For patellar dislocations resulting in a damaged ligament, we will most often reconstruct the damaged ligament surgically using a donor tendon.

Knee Fractures

Knee fractures occur from direct blows to the bones. Patella, or kneecap, fractures occur when a person falls directly down onto the knees and the kneecap cracks due to the force. Collapse of the top of the tibia bone in the knee can occur from sudden compression injury to the knee, especially in people with osteoporosis. Other fractures of the long bones are are with isolated injuries to the knee.


For knee fractures apply a sterile dressing to the open wound if there is one, after wound is covered put the fracture into a splint, then administer parenteral analgesics for isolated extremity injuries.