Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 39, Issue 1, January-February 2010

Sports knee injuries Assessment and management

Bianca Scotney
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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 knee injuries.
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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