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    Most knee problems fall into four major categories:


    Your knee is made up of many important structures, any of which can be injured. The most common knee injuries include fractures around the knee, dislocation, and sprains and tears of soft tissues, like ligaments. In many cases, injuries involve more than one structure in the knee.


    Pain and swelling are the most common signs of knee injury. In addition, your knee may catch or lock up. Many knee injuries cause instability — the feeling that your knee is giving way.


    A dislocation occurs when the bones of the knee are out of place, either completely or partially. For example, the femur and tibia can be forced out of alignment, and the patella can also slip out of place.Dislocations can be caused by an abnormality in the structure of a person’s knee.


    In people who have normal knee structure, dislocations are most often caused by high energy trauma, such as falls, motor vehicle crashes, and sports-related contact.


    Sudden meniscal tears often happen during sports. Tears in the meniscus can occur when twisting, cutting, pivoting, or being tackled. Meniscal tears may also occur as a result of arthritis or aging. Just an awkward twist when getting up from a chair may be enough to cause a tear, if the menisci have weakened with age.


    The quadriceps and patellar tendons can be stretched and torn. Although anyone can injure these tendons, tears are more common among middle-aged people who play running or jumping sports. Falls, direct force to the front of the knee, and landing awkwardly from a jump are common causes of knee tendon injuries.


    When you are first injured, the RICE method — rest, ice, gentle compression and elevation – can help speed your recovery. Be sure to seek treatment as soon as possible, especially if you:

    • Hear a popping noise and feel knee giving out at time of injury
    • Have severe pain
    • Cannot move the knee
    • Begin limping
    • Have swelling at the injury site

    The type of treatment your doctor recommends will depend on several factors, such as the severity of your injury, your age, general health, and activity level.