Common Knee Injuries and Conditions

ACL Injury

The knee is a complex joint with multiple components, thus it is vulnerable to a variety of issues. In fact, one of the most common reasons people visit their doctors is for a knee injury. These often include fractures, dislocations, sprains and cartilage injuries.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury (ACL Tear)

The tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament (or ACL) inside your knee joint defines an ACL tear. This common injury is often the result of sports or movements that involve sudden changes in direction and quick stops.

Symptoms & Diagnosis of an ACL Tear

You may experience a swollen knee and knee pain immediately after an ACL injury. Knee popping may also be felt or heard when an ACL tear occurs. Left untreated, the knee will typically feel unstable with pivoting activities or changes in direction.

Treatment for an ACL Tear

Treatment may include ACL surgery to replace the torn ligament, depending on the severity of the ACL tear. In addition, rehabilitation exercises can help. Nonsurgical treatment options are also available. See more on ACL tear treatments.

Meniscus Tear

Meniscus Tear

Another common knee injury is a torn meniscus. A meniscus tear can result from activity that causes you to forcefully twist or rotate your knee, especially when putting the pressure of your full weight on it.

Symptoms & Diagnosis of a Meniscus Tear

A meniscus tear can cause swelling, knee pain, as well as a feeling of your knee locking up or giving away. Additionally you might have trouble fully extending your knee.

Treatment for a Meniscus Tear

Depending on the severity of the meniscus tear, there are nonsurgical and surgical treatment options available.

Articular Cartilage Damage (or Cartilage Injuries)

Articular cartilage is the white, smooth tissue covering the ends of bones where they meet to form joints. This tissue acts to reduce friction between bones during movement. It can be damaged by normal wear and tear or injury. Since it does not have a blood supply, it does not heal, and can contribute to the beginning of osteoarthritis.

Symptoms & Diagnosis of Articular Cartilage Damage

Symptoms of articular cartilage damage commonly include joint pain, stiffness and inflammation.

Treatment for Articular Cartilage Damage

There are both nonsurgical and surgical treatment options available for articular cartilage damage.

Runner’s Knee

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is a general term used to define pain around the patella, or kneecap, and in the front of the knee. It is also referred to as "runner's knee" because it is common in people who participate in sports. However, runner’s knee can occur in non-athletes as well.

Symptoms & Diagnosis of Runner’s Knee

A dull, aching pain in the front of the knee is the most common symptom of runner’s knee. This knee pain—which usually begins slowly and is often related to activity—may be present in one or both knees.

Treatment Options for Runner’s Knee

Simple home treatment is usually prescribed for runner’s knee. Rest, ice, compression and elevation are commonly recommended. Find out more about runner’s knee treatments.

Osteoarthritis (or Knee Arthritis)

Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down over time. It is the most common form of arthritis.

X-Ray of Healthy Knee X-Ray of Knee with Osteoarthritis

Symptoms & Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis

Arthritis generally causes the knee joint to become painful and inflamed over time. Knee pain may increase during rainy weather or increased activity. Sometimes the knee may snap or make a grinding sound.

Treatment Options for Osteoarthritis

There are both nonsurgical and surgical treatment options available for osteoarthritis.