First Health Physical Therapy | Knee Injuries
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Knee Injuries

Pathological Conditions


Also known as wear and tear, joint disease or degenerative arthritis, is a common problem for many people after middle age. Knee osteoarthritis is the most common type of osteoarthritis and ranked as the most common cause of disability in the U.S. It can be caused by previous knee injuries, fractures, ligament tears, repetitive strain on the knee, obesity, etc.


  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Limited range of motion
  • Localized swelling

Chondromalacia Patellae

Chondromalacia patella is a common knee problem that affects the patella and the groove when it slides over the femur (thigh bone). This action takes place at the patellofemoral joint.
This condition occurs when the patellofemoral joint that has been structurally damaged. The commonly used term, patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) refers to the earlier stages of the condition. Symptoms are more likely to be reversible with PFPS.


  • Grinding sensation when the knee is flexed
  • Front knee pain when getting up after sitting for a long period of time
  • Knee pain that worsens when you climb stairs or get out of a chair
  • Knee tenderness

Plica Syndrome

Plica syndrome is a problem that occurs when an otherwise normal structure in the knee becomes a source of knee pain due to injury or overuse. The diagnosis can sometimes be difficult.


  • Knee pain
  • Swelling
  • Clicking sensation
  • Locking
  • Weakness of the knee

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis of the knee causes the joints to become tender, warm, and swollen. Although knee osteoarthritis causes pain and stiffness, joint pain with knee RA is more severe.


  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Inflammation
  • Stiffness
  • Warmth around the knee joints
  • Fever
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Fatigue

Traumatic Injuries

Meniscus tears

The meniscus is a commonly injured structure in the knee. The injury can occur in any age group. In younger people, the meniscus is fairly tough and rubbery, and tears usually occur as a result of a forceful twisting injury. The meniscus grows weaker with age, and meniscal tears can occur in aging adults as the result of fairly minor injuries, even from the up-and-down motion of squatting.


  • Pain
  • Stiff/ swelling
  • Locking
  • No range of motion

Anterior Cruciate (ACL) Injury & Posterior Cruciate (PCL) Injury

The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is one of the less commonly injured ligaments of the knee. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is more commonly injured.


  • Pop or crack when injured
  • Instability, followed by swelling
  • Extremely painful
  • Unable to straighten leg
  • Tenderness
  • Pain at the time of impact, extended to calves later on.
  • Swelling
  • Instability

Medial and Lateral Collateral Ligament Injuries

The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is more easily injured than the lateral collateral ligament (LCL). It is most often caused by a blow to the outer side of the knee (such as occur in contact sports) that stretches and tears the ligament on the inner side of the knee.
The classic sign of this injury is hearing a “pop” and feeling the knee buckle sideways. Pain and swelling are immediate. To diagnose a collateral ligament injury, a medical professional will perform several manual tests (applying pressure on the side of the knee to determine the degree of pain and looseness of the joint) and possibly order an MRI to confirm the diagnosis.


  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Stiff and painful
  • Unstable
  • May give away and not support body weight.

Dislocation/ Patellar Subluxation

Patellar Subluxation happens when the kneecap is pulled towards the outside of the knee. As this happens, the kneecap does not slide centrally within its groove.
Also called patellar subluxation, patients who experience an unstable kneecap have a kneecap that does not slide centrally within its groove. Depending on the severity of the patellar subluxation, this improper tracking may not cause the patient any problems, or it may lead to dislocation of the patella (where the kneecap fully dislocates out of the groove). Most commonly, the tracking problem causes discomfort with activity, and pain around the sides of the kneecap. Patellar subluxation is a condition that usually affects adolescent and sometimes younger children.


  • Painful
  • Kneecap pops or gets out of the socket

Patella Tendon Rupture

The patellar tendon is prone to rupturing in individuals with a history of patellar tendon injury such as jumper’s knee or degeneration due to age. Injuries of this type serve to weaken the patellar tendon and in the event of strong eccentric quadriceps contraction (contraction during lengthening of the muscle), such as landing from jump, the patella tendon may snap or rupture most commonly at the lower end of the patella.


  • Extremely painful an
  • Clear pop at the time of injury
  • Swelling
  • Inability of holding weight
  • Inability to straighten the knee or hold it straight
  • Fracture and Stress Fractures

Repetitive Injuries

PFS/ Patellofemoral Syndrome/Runner’s Knee

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is pain in the front of the knee. It frequently occurs in teenagers, manual laborers, and athletes. It sometimes is caused by wearing down, roughening, or softening of the cartilage under the kneecap.


  • Pain under or around the kneecap
  • Pain hurt after bending to running, climbing stairs, leg exercises etc.
  • Clear knee cracking or a need to be cracked to decrease pain.
  • Incapable of sitting for long periods of time without straightening out the knee to make it crack.

ITB (IlioTibial Band Syndrome)

liotibial band syndrome is inflammation and pain on the outer side of the knee. The iliotibial band is a layer of connective tissue. It begins at a muscle near the outer side of your hip, travels down the outer side of your thigh, crosses the outer side of the knee, and attaches to the outer side of your upper shin bone (tibia).


  • Pain over the outside of the knee joint
  • Swelling at the spot of discomfort
  • Snapping or popping feeling as knee bends

Knee Tendonitis

Patellar tendonitis is the condition that arises when the tendon and the tissues that surround it, become inflamed and irritated. This is usually due to overuse, especially from jumping activities. This is the reason patellar tendonitis is often called “jumper’s knee.”


  • Dull ache
  • Tenderness
  • Mild swelling

Knee Bursitis

Knee bursitis is inflammation of a bursa located near your knee joint. Knee bursitis causes pain and can limit your mobility. Treatment for knee bursitis often includes a combination of self-care practices and doctor-administered treatments to alleviate pain and inflammation.


  • Feels warm when knee is touched
  • Appears swollen or feels spongy when knee is touched
  • Painful or tender

Osgood-Schlatter Disease/ Jumper’s Knee

Osgood-Schlatter disease can cause a painful lump below the kneecap in children and adolescents experiencing growth spurts during puberty. Osgood-Schlatter disease occurs most often in children who participate in sports that involve running, jumping and swift changes of direction — such as soccer, basketball, figure skating and ballet.


  • Pain at the bony edge below your knee
  • Tibial tuberosity swollen or inflamed
  • Tenderness and pain becomes worse during and after exercise.
  • Pain when contracting the quadriceps against resistance or when contracting the muscles with the leg straight.