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Common Knee Injuries

Common Knee Injuries seen by Physiotherapists

Anterior Cruciate ligament tear
(common in most sports)

Injuries of the ACL range from mild such as small tears to severe when the ligament is completely torn. There are many ways the ACL can be torn; the most prevalent is when the knee is bent too much toward the back and when it goes too far to the side. Tears in the anterior cruciate ligament often take place when the knee receives a direct impact from the front while the leg is in a stable position. Torn ACL’s are most often related to high impact sports or when the knee is forced to make sharp changes in movement and during abrupt stops from high speed. Continued athletic activity on a knee with an ACL injury can have devastating consequences, resulting in massive cartilage damage, leading to an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis later in life.


  • Hearing a popping sound whilst changing direction
  • Swelling
  • Instability
  • Pain at the back of the knee

Meniscal tears

Tear of a meniscus is a rupturing of one or more of the fibrocartilage strips in the knee called menisci. Can be referred to as “torn cartilage” . Menisci can be torn during innocuous activities such as walking or squatting. They can also be torn by traumatic force encountered in sports or other forms of physical exertion. The traumatic action is most often a twisting movement at the knee while the leg is bent. In older adults, the meniscus can be damaged following prolonged ‘wear and tear’ called a degenerative tear.


  • Inability to fully straighten or bend the knee
  • Clicking
  • Pain going up or down stairs
  • Swelling around knee

Patello-femoral joint issues

Patello-femoral issues relate to the correct ‘fit’ or tracking on the patella within the knee joint. This can be affected by the position and structure of the patella itself, muscle strength or tight tissues.


Pain in knee which worsens with going up or down stairs or when  bended for a prolonged period.