Knee Injury

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

What causes a knee injury?

Most knee injuries are caused by an external force bending or twisting the knee in a manner that it was not anatomically designed for. The vast majority of knee injuries are from a twisting mechanism from falls, sports, or accidents. A twisted knee can cause damage to the ligaments and cartilage.

High-force injuries such as sports injuries and motor vehicle accidents can disrupt multiple parts of the knee anatomy, causing multiple types of knee injuries.

Bursitis can be caused by overuse, arthritis, degenerative joint disease, injuries from kneeling, infection, or gout.

What are risk factors for a knee injury?

High-impact sports, including running, basketball, football, hockey, soccer, cycling, and others, can increase the risk of knee injury. Sports where shoes with cleats are worn and sharp, sudden changes in direction are made are common risks for knee injury. Exercise, such as high-impact cardiovascular activity or yoga, can also cause knee injury.

The elderly may be at higher risk for knee injury due to falls and osteoporosis.

Women may be at higher risk for particular knee injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and patella. This is due to the anatomy of a woman's hips and femur and the angle at which the knee is tilted. This can lead to chondromalacia patella (CMP), an inflammation or irritation of the underside of the patella.

Being overweight can be a risk factor for knee injury, as excess weight puts more stress on the lower extremity joints.

Overuse and overtraining, improper or insufficient training for a sport, or not properly rehabilitating acute injuries can also predispose a person to knee injuries.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/6/2016

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