What is the Most Common Type of Knee Injury in Sports?

What is the Most Common Type of Knee Injury in Sports?

The most common type of knee injury in sports is the meniscus tear, which occurs when the meniscus, the cartilage that cushions the bones that form the knee joint, becomes damaged from certain types of sudden movement. However, other knee injuries are also common, such as the anterior cruciate ligament tear, the medial collateral ligament tear and other conditions.

Knee injuries can be a debilitating problem and can prevent you from engaging in your usual sports regime, exercise workout or even normal daily tasks. You can prevent knee injuries by doing strengthening exercises as part of your regular routine and by engaging in warm-up exercises prior to your sports activities. Knee injuries can take some time to heal, which can prevent your participation in the athletic activities you love.

Most common type of knee injury in sports

Sports activities sometimes involve the risk of injury. A number of different types of knee damage are common among athletes.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tears:

The anterior cruciate ligament connects the thighbone to the shinbone. This ligament can become injured during sudden stops or changes in direction, during sports activities. It can also be damaged by running and jumping movements.

Meniscus Tears

The meniscus is a wedge-shaped piece of cartilage that cushions and supports the bones that make up the knee. Tears can occur in the meniscus that lead to pain and impaired mobility.

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner’s Knee)

Patellofemoral pain syndrome generally occurs from running or jumping activities, which can lead to pain at the front of the knee around the kneecap. Conservative measures can usually resolve the problem.

Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Sprains

The medial collateral ligament is located on the inside of the knee joint and can be damaged by sprains or tears due to activities during skiing, basketball and football.


Tendinitis of the kneecap can occur that causes pain and impairment of movement. It is often associated with jumping activities.

Statistics on knee injuries in sports

A study from the National Library of Medicine found that knee injuries were most common in individuals who play football (38%), street running (8.6%) and basketball (5%).

Causes of the most common type of knee injury

Sudden movements during sports activities are among the most common type of knee injury. Trauma to the knee joint, due to accidents or impacts during sports is also a common cause of knee injuries.

Sudden Deceleration or Change in Direction:

Many sports require sudden decelerations and changes in direction for proper play. These include football, tennis, soccer, hockey and handball and basketball. These activities put significant pressure on the structures of the knee.

Landing or Planting

Sports that require landing or hard planting on the ground can cause knee injuries. These movements are associated with gymnastics, soccer and basketball. Track and field activities can also involve these movements.

Direct Contact or Collision

Trauma to the knee can occur from direct contact to the knee or from collisions that often occur during sports activities. It can result in tears, sprains, fractures or dislocations of the joint.

Lack of Conditioning or Muscle Imbalances

Individuals who do not practice or participate in the sport on a regular basis are more likely to sustain an injury than those who are more sedentary,

Previous ACL Injury

A previous injury to the anterior cruciate ligament can make it more vulnerable to another injury.

Impact on athletes’ performance and recovery time

Injuries in general have an effect on athletes’ performance and recovery. A knee injury can take a significant amount of time to heal properly and can take athletes away from their sport for some time.

Anatomy of the knee joint

The knee joint is composed of a number of parts that function together to produce effective movement for everyday activities, as well as for more rigorous movement involved in sports.

Structure and function of the knee joint

The knee joint consists of the thighbone, the shinbone, the fibula and the kneecap. These elements are held together with tendons and ligaments. They are lubricated by synovial fluid that is contained within a capsule in the joint. This structure allows smooth movement in many directions.

Importance of ligaments and tendons in knee stability

Strong, healthy tendons and ligaments help to facilitate movement during sports and can reduce the risk of injury from overuse and sudden, twisting motions.

Prevention and Rehabilitation

You can take proactive measures to prevent knee injuries. Once an injury has occurred, rehabilitation measures can help to reduce discomfort and restore normal function.

Warm-up and Conditioning Exercises

Proper warm-up and conditioning exercises can help to prevent weakness and stiffness in the muscles, tendons and ligaments surrounding the knee joint, which often contribute to the likelihood of knee injuries during sports activities.

Proper Technique and Form

Learning the proper technique and form for a sport can help to reduce the risk for injury of the knee and other joints. Good coaching helps to ensure athletes avoid major injuries.

Protective Equipment

Wearing the right protective equipment, such as braces or taping, can help to support and protect tender joints and should be used on a regular basis, especially if you have had a previous knee injury.

Physical Therapy

Your physical therapist can provide specific exercises and movements to strengthen the affected structures within the knee.


Chiropractic care offers a non-invasive, drug-free method of treating knee injuries that uses specialized techniques to bring the body back into proper alignment, reduce pain and improve joint function.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a sports injury behind the knee?

Pain behind the knee could be a sign of hyperextension of the knee, a Baker’s cyst, a ligament sprain, a cartilage tear, or damage to the calf muscle or the hamstring muscle.

Which of the following is the most common of all knee injuries?

Out of meniscus tears, tendon tears, anterior cruciate ligament tears, tendinitis, fractures and dislocations, meniscus tears are the most common knee injury.

Which knee injury is the most painful?

An anterior cruciate ligament tear can be a very painful injury. However, a fracture or dislocation of the knee can also cause significant pain.

What is the most common knee injury in sports?

The meniscus tear and anterior cruciate ligament tear are the most common knee injuries incurred during sports activities.

What is a major knee injury?

An anterior cruciate ligament tear can be one of the most serious injuries to the knee that often requires surgery to repair. A fracture of the knee can also be a major knee injury, requiring both surgery and a long recovery process.

What sports cause knee pain?

Sports that involve jumping and landing, twisted movements and rapid changes in direction and deceleration can cause knee pain. Running with its constant impact, with the ground, can also lead to knee pain.

Why do athletes have bad knees?

Athletes often develop bad knees over the years because of wear and tear on structures within the knee joint. These structures become damaged from sudden movements repeated impacts with the ground or repeated bending motions.

How to treat sports knee injuries?

Sports knee injuries are generally treated with basic R.I.C.E. techniques. That is, rest, icing, compression and elevation. The use of NSAIDS over-the-counter pain relievers is usually advised.

What is it called when you injure your knee?

A knee injury may be categorized as a “sprain,” a “tear” of internal tissues, a fracture or a “dislocation” of the bones that make up the joint.

What is the scientific name for a knee injury?

Because the knee is composed of many different components, the scientific name of an injury can vary. Anterior cruciate ligament tears, posterior cruciate ligament tears, collateral ligament tears, meniscal tears, tendon tears, tendon tears, fractures and dislocations.

What is a torn knee called?

A torn knee can be categorized as a meniscus tear, an anterior cruciate ligament tear or a posterior cruciate ligament tear or a tendon tear. Any one of these may require support during the healing process or surgical repair.

What is a runner’s knee injury called?

Several different types of knee injuries can result from running activities, such as patellofemoral malignment, chondromalacia patella, iliotibial band syndrome and anterior knee pain syndrome.

Who is at risk for knee injury?

Individuals who do not workout regularly or engage in sports on a regular basis are more at risk for a knee injury. If you have had a prior knee injury, you may be at risk for additional knee problems.

Can a knee injury heal on its own?

Knee injuries are unlikely to heal well on their own, because they often involve damage to tissues that provide cushioning for the knee joint during normal movement.

What is the hardest knee injury to recover from?

Any knee injury that causes severe damage to the bones of the knee joint or the cartilage that acts as a shock absorber may require total or partial knee replacement, which requires several months for recovery and intensive physical therapy for full restoration of function.

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