Injuries are the most common cause of knee problems. Sudden (acute) injuries may be caused by a direct blow to the knee or from abnormal twisting, bending the knee, or falling on the knee. Pain, bruising, or swelling may be severe and develop within minutes of the injury. The knee or lower leg may feel numb, weak, or cold; tingle; or look pale or blue. Acute injuries include:
- Sprains, strains, or other injuries to the ligaments and tendons that connect and support the kneecap.
- A tear in the rubbery cushions of the knee joint (meniscus).
- Ligament tears, such as the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is the most commonly injured ligament of the knee.
Overuse injuries occur with repetitive activities or repeated or prolonged pressure on the knee. Activities such as stair climbing, bicycle riding, jogging, or jumping stress joints and other tissues and can lead to irritation and inflammation. Overuse injuries include:
- Inflammation of the small sacs of fluid that cushion and lubricate the knee (bursitis).
- Inflammation of the tendons (tendinitis) or small tears in the tendons (tendinosis).
- Pain in the front of the knee from overuse, injury (patellofemoral pain syndrome).
- Irritation and inflammation of the band of fibrous tissue that runs down the outside of the thigh (iliotibial band syndrome).
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