Knee pain presents commonly in the general practice setting.1 More than 1 million sports related injuries occur in Australia each year; 12% of these injuries involve the knee.2 A good understanding of the anatomy and biomechanics of the knee assists accurate diagnosis of acute knee injuries. Injuries can involve ligaments (cruciate, collateral or joint capsule), cartilage (articular or meniscal), bone (avulsion and compression fractures or bone bruising), muscle and tendon. The goal of assessment and management in acute knee injuries is to exclude fracture, manage pain, minimise knee swelling, maintain range of movement and quadriceps activation, and arrange appropriate referral.
Sports knee injuries present commonly in the general
practice setting. A good understanding of the anatomy and
biomechanics of the knee assists accurate diagnosis of acute
This article describes the assessment and management of
sports knee injuries in the general practice setting.
When a patient presents with a sporting knee injury, a
detailed history can help narrow down the nature of the
injury. Examination can be difficult in the acute setting and
may need to be repeated 3 or more days after the injury.
Fractures can usually be excluded with plain X-rays; where
indicated MRI or CT scan will usually confirm the diagnosis.
Management aims are to manage pain, minimise knee
swelling, maintain range of movement and quadriceps
activation, and arrange appropriate referral. Medial collateral
ligament, posterior cruciate ligament and some small
meniscal injuries can usually be managed conservatively.
Most meniscal injuries, anterior cruciate ligament and lateral
collateral ligament injuries require surgical management.
Physiotherapy is an integral part of the management of knee
injuries in both the conservative and surgical settings.
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