Knee Pain – Anterior Cruciate Ligament and Meniscus injuries

Knee painKnee pain is a common complaint we see at Better Health.  The tendons, ligaments, cartilage and bones of the knee are subjected to forces when running, jumping, twisting and kicking and also can be injured during a fall or direct blow. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and meniscus are common structures in the knee that can tear or become damaged.

 ACL Injury

 The ACL is one of the major ligaments of the knee that prevents excessive movement.

An ACL tear is most often a sports-related injury.   Changing direction rapidly, stopping suddenly, landing from a jump incorrectly, or a direct contact or collision can cause excessive strain to the ACL resulting in injury.  About half of all injuries to the ACL occur along with damage to other structures in the knee, such as articular cartilage, meniscus, or other ligaments.

A history of a “pop” sound when injured, sudden onset of knee pain, swelling within 2 hours of injury and a feeling that the knee is unstable and gives way are all common complaints of

an injury to the ACL

Meniscal Injury

The meniscus functions as a shock absorber and helps to distribute body weight across the knee joint.

Meniscal tears are much more common than ACL tears. It can develop slowly over time as a result of degeneration of the knee, but it can also occur after a sudden injury.  In the case of an acute injury, the symptoms will be similar to those of an ACL tear, but more mild and with a slower onset. However, a meniscal tear will cause the knee to feel stiff rather than unstable.   In the younger population, the meniscus is usually torn traumatically (often in sports) by a twisting on a slightly bent knee.  In the older adult, the tear may be due to a natural age-related degeneration of the meniscus.

A history of pain particularly with twisting on a slightly bent knee will indicate the likelihood of a meniscus tear. There may also be clicking, popping, or locking of the knee. These symptoms are usually accompanied by knee pain, swelling and pain when squatting.

With injury to the ACL, meniscus or both, early treatment is vital to a good outcome. Therefore, if you start to experience moderate to severe knee pain should see a sports physiotherapist.

Katrina Tuanui (Physiotherapist)


If you would like more information or to book an appointment with one of our physiotherapists please contact reception on 95180722