Knee Injuries


Whether you play sport socially or professionally, a knee injury can put you out of action. Physiotherapists provide expert advice and treatment to speed up healing and get you active again.

Types of Knee Injuries

Acute Injuries: Result from a sudden trauma, such as a fall or collision, or twist playing sport.

Overuse Injuries: Result from overload or over activity, such as running cycling or bushwalking. These start gradually, relating to a range of factors including structural problems, training methods or technique.

Common Knee Injuries

Acute injuries

Ligament Sprain (or Tear)

Ligaments stabilise or strengthen joints. Over-stretching can cause tears to the ligament fibres, resulting in bleeding, pain, swelling and instability.


Cartilage (Meniscal) Tears

The knee cartilages (or menisci) also provide stability to the knee joint. They are mostly torn during weight-bearing activities that involve twisting and turning. A torn cartilage (or meniscus) results in pain, swelling and locking or catching of the knee joint.


Overuse injuries

These are much more common than acute injuries, and usually affect the patella femoral joint or patellar tendon. If left untreated, they usually get progressively worse. Early diagnosis and treatment may result in a quicker recovery.


Patella-femoral syndrome

Patella-femoral (or kneecap) pain affects approximately 20% of the population, and is associated with activities that increase the load on the knee, such as bending, squatting or stair climbing.


Patellar Tendonopathy

The patellar tendon joins the quadriceps (thigh) muscle to the leg bone. Injury to this tendon may be known as “jumper’s knee”, because it commonly occurs with repeated jumping and landing activities (basketball, volleyball etc).

(APA, 2002).


Physiotherapy treatment is helpful in reducing the pain and disability associated with both acute and overuse knee injuries. In addition, physiotherapists are well trained to address potential aggravating factors that may have contributed to the development of the overuse injury.

Your physiotherapist will discuss the injury with you and estimate the time it will take to recover. Returning to work or sport too early may delay healing and prolong recovery.

Your physiotherapist can teach you how to tape your knee, or fit you with a knee brace if required and help you to plan alternative ways to maintain your fitness and muscle strength while recovering.

Return to the Physiotherapy Overview Page