- Take the Pain Quiz
- First Aid Sprains & Strains Slideshow
- Exercises for OA of the Knee Slideshow
- Patient Comments: Meniscus Tear - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Meniscus Tear - Treatment
- Patient Comments: Knee Injury - Causes
- Patient Comments: Knee Injury - Experience
- Find a local Doctor in your town
- Knee injury facts
- What are the different types of knee injuries?
- What causes a knee injury?
- What are risk factors for a knee injury?
- What are knee injury symptoms and signs?
- How is a knee injury diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for a knee injury?
- What exercises are recommended, and what exercises should be avoided during rehabilitation for a knee injury?
- What is the recovery time for a knee injury?
- What is the prognosis of a knee injury?
- Can knee injuries be prevented?
What is the prognosis of a knee injury?
The prognosis of a knee injury depends on the type and severity of the injury.
Knee injuries are rarely life-threatening, though severe injuries may be disabling. Knee-joint dislocations can cause vascular (blood vessel) injuries and can lead to severe disability.
Most minor knee injuries (strains, minor sprains) heal on their own with conservative treatment. The prognosis for these types of injures is good.
Ligament or cartilage injuries that lead to dysfunction or instability of the knee may require surgery. These injuries generally respond well to surgery and patients can ultimately gain full or nearly full range of knee motion.
Some knee injuries lead to chronic, irreversible damage to the knee and may result in long-term dysfunction.
Can knee injuries be prevented?
Knee injuries can be prevented by taking steps to reduce the risks:
- Maintain fitness and lower-body strength
- Stay at a healthy weight
- Wear proper shoes for your sport
- Train properly for your sport and do not overtrain
- Maintain the playing surface for sports in optimum condition
- Avoid slippery or uneven surfaces
- Avoid loose turf or gravel
- Wear knee braces and pads if required by your sport or suggested by your doctor
- Do all rehab exercises if you have had a previous knee injury
- Treat osteoporosis if you have it
- Make sure your home is safe to avoid falls
For specific information on prevention of injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), check out the ACL Prevention Project training program by the Santa Monica Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Foundation. It is a 15-minute training session that consists of a warm-up, stretching, strengthening, plyometrics, and sport specific agility training.
Medically reviewed by Aimee V. HachigianGould, MD; American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons. "Selected Issues in Injury and Illness Prevention and the Team Physician: A Consensus Statement." <http://www.aaos.org/about/papers/advistmt/1031.asp>.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. "Knee Arthroscopy Exercise Guide." (2000). <http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00300>.
Beitler, Jeffrey S. "Knee Ligament Injuries: PCL, LCL, MCL, and ACL Injury." Feb. 25, 2012. <http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/guide/knee-ligament-injuries?page=2>.
Juhn, Mark S. "Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome: A Review and Guidelines for Treatment." Am Fam Physician 60.7 Nov. 1, 1999: 2012-2018. <http://www.aafp.org/afp/1999/1101/p2012.html>.
Murphy, D.F., D.A.J. Connolly, and B.D. Beynnon. "Risk Factors for Lower Extremity Injury: A Review of the Literature." Br J Sports Med 37 (2003): 13-29. <http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/37/1/13.full>.
Santa Monica Sports Medicine Foundation. "Pep Program." <http://smsmf.org/smsf-programs/pep-program>.
Wedro, Benjamin. "Knee Injury." eMedicineHealth.com. July 19, 2010. <http://www.emedicinehealth.com/knee_injury/article_em.htm>.