When we take a look at knee anatomy and the biomechanics of this complex joint, it becomes clear why injuring it can lead to disability. These knee injury statistics analyze the types, frequency, severity, and consequences of such injuries.
Knee joint injuries are a significant public health issue. Therefore, knowing the essential facts and stats on the topic may help to prevent, diagnose, and treat them accordingly.
The following information may benefit people of all ages but especially youngsters because they are at risk of developing future health problems due to such traumas.
The Top 10 statistics on Knee Injuries
- First aid for a knee injury should be provided in the first 48–72 hours.
- Knee pain is a common symptom affecting people of all ages.
- Around 40% of all sports injuries are related to the knee joint.
- In 2018, 68.1% of patients with a knee injury were male.
- According to knee injury statistics, around 30,000 of the injuries happen in frontal motor vehicle crashes in the US every year.
- Above 50% of people taking chondroitin reported improvement in knee pain.
- About 1000 mg of curcumin a day has anti-inflammatory effects on the knee.
- 35% of these injuries are attributed to soccer.
- Half of the people with an ACL injury do not return to their previous sports activity.
- There is a 147.8% increase in the diagnosis of sports-specific injuries of the knee.
Primary Knee Injury Symptoms Used in Diagnosis
1. The top 3 symptoms of knee injury are severe pain, limping, and inability to move the knee.
These three primary symptoms are usually accompanied by the failure to bear weight on the knee, deformity of the joint, and buckling of the knee when trying to stand or walk.
2. First aid should be provided within the first 48–72 hours of the accident, according to knee joint injury statistics.
It is crucial to provide first aid to avoid complications and any consequences later in life. This includes stopping the activity, resting the joint, and applying ice packs for 15 minutes every couple of hours to ameliorate swelling and pain.
Sometimes it’s good to wrap a bandage around the knee and elevate the leg. Don’t apply heat or alcohol to the joint, and do not massage it.
3. The most common knee injuries are sprains, strains, and bursitis.
There are many different types of knee injuries. Other common ones include dislocations, fractures, meniscus tears, and overuse injuries.
4. Using a self-diagnosis tool within the first few hours of the injury can be very beneficial.
(The Stone Clinic)
Making a knee injury diagnosis is complicated, and if you’re not confident about what might be wrong with your knee, you can use self-diagnosis tools. However, it’s important to remember that they do not replace a real doctor and cannot provide a definitive diagnosis.
5. Identification of injuries almost always requires diagnostic imaging methods.
Doctors rely on tests, such as X-ray, computerized tomography scan, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These tests can detect injuries on different levels, including soft tissues, such as ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and muscles (MRI).
Knee Injury: Stats and Facts on Knee Pain
6. Knee pain affects people of all ages.
However, the causes of knee pain are not the same in younger and older individuals, as it can either be caused by an injury (such as a torn cartilage or ruptured ligament) or as а consequence of degenerative or rheumatoid arthritis, respectively.
7. The location and severity of knee pain may vary depending on the cause.
According to the knee pain statistics, the pain depends on the accompanying signs and symptoms related to inflammation, such as swelling, redness, warmth, and lost functions (stiffness and weakness or instability). However, popping or crunching noises, as well as the inability to fully straighten the knee, are also inconvenient.
8. Defining the causes of knee pain requires a proper physical examination of the joint.
A physical examination performed by a doctor often includes various range-of-motion tests. This is especially important to determine the source of knee pain, and what kind of further testing can be performed to establish the right knee pain diagnosis of knee injuries, either from falling or any other causes.
9. Knee pain can be caused by medical conditions other than injuries.
Injuries causing ligament strains and sprains, fractures around the knee, etc., are widespread, as well as diseases such as degenerative, reactive (due to infections), and rheumatoid arthritis, gout, osteoarthritis, overuse, obesity, and other chronic medical conditions. The treatment options for knee pain, however, depend on the primary cause of the pain.
Knee Statistics Regarding the Prevalence of Injuries
10. Around 40% of all sports injuries are related to the knee joint.
(The Knee Journal)
A 10-year study of 17,397 patients with 19,530 different sports injuries found that 37% of them had one or more than one knee injury, which amounts to 39.8% of all sports traumas.
11. There are 68.6 cases of anterior cruciate ligament tears per 100,000 person-years.
This makes the tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of the knee the most common injuries in the general population.
12. In 2018, 68.1% of patients with a knee injury were male.
(The Knee Journal)
Knee injury statistics from 2018 show that this percentage is similar to what it is today. The number of young people affected by knee injury is between 40 and 50, mainly due to sports traumas, as opposed to chronic medical conditions.
13. Anterior cruciate ligament injuries become more common in children and adolescents.
(British Journal of Sports medicine).
Children between 10 and 14 years of age are especially vulnerable. Such injuries can greatly affect the quality of their lives later on. Unfortunately, there has been an increase in incidence for this age group as of recent.
14. About 30,000 injuries happen in frontal motor vehicle crashes in the US every year.
Unfortunately, smashing the knee into a dashboard during a head-on collision is very common.
The Severity of a Knee Injury: Facts and Stats
15. The severity of the anterior cruciate ligament injuries ranges from grade 1 to 3.
(Medical News Today)
The severity is graded from one to three, where “one” refers to mild severity and pain and “three” to severe injury, usually related to a complete tear.
16. In most cases, injuries of the knee involve more than one structure in the joint.
Since the knee is a very complicated joint along with the surrounding tissues (knee bones, muscles), the injuries usually present a complex knee trauma, including dislocation, sprains, and tears of ligaments and fractures around the knee, etc.
Common Knee Injuries and Their Consequences
17. The most significant consequence of a knee injury is knee osteoarthritis.
These kinds of injuries are associated with the development of osteoarthritis at a relatively young age and degenerative arthritis over time.
18. Knee injuries can be disabling.
The injuries are not considered life-threatening, except those accompanied by blood vessel injuries. However, they may lead to irreversible knee damage, along with long-term dysfunction and reduced quality of life.
19. Lasting consequences of a knee injury are related to persistent chronic pain.
Traumatic acute knee injuries may include ongoing chronic and debilitating pain, which is sometimes difficult to treat. Other late consequences are the decreased range of motion, instability, post-traumatic arthritis, and functional impairment. The last one can make normal daily activities next to impossible. Post-traumatic arthritis can contribute to knee pain when bending, caused by fluid accumulation and inflammation in the knee.
The big issue with the late and lasting consequences is that they make a significant burden on the healthcare system and economy.
Knee Injury Treatments
20. Surgery aims to stabilize and restore the functional capacity of the knee.
When the injuries are severe, surgery is almost always needed. The primary purposes are related to fast return to previous activity and sports participation, as well as diminishing the risk of late complications and disabilities.
21. Physical therapy for a knee injury is an essential part of the treatment.
Since recovering from a knee injury can be challenging, physical therapy aims to improve the joint’s functionality, remove the restriction of movements, and reduce pain. This is especially important for knee tendon injury, as it is used instead of surgery or after it. Physical therapy as a part of the rehab treatments after a knee injury may also include strengthening the muscles around the knee and establishing proper technique during physical activity.
22. Injections with different medications may be prescribed in the case of a knee joint injury.
Injecting corticosteroids, hyaluronic acid, and platelet-rich plasma may have their role in reducing symptoms, but they have to be administered only in specific instances.
23. Glucosamine showed function-modifying effects on the knee joints.
Although research results are controversial about the effectiveness of this supplementation for relieving pain, especially in a higher frequency of knee injuries, they showed no benefits related to pain reduction after six months of the administration.
24. Above 50% of people taking chondroitin reported improvement in knee pain.
These patients reported a 20% improvement in knee pain. The mechanism of action is related to slowing down the joint space narrowing, which is especially evident after two years of supplementation.
25. About 1000 mg of curcumin a day has anti-inflammatory effects on the knee.
Turmeric has shown its pain-relieving properties attributed to a chemical compound called curcumin. This is one of the most popular supplements for treating joint pain.
Sports Knee Injury Statistics
26. 35% of the injuries are attributed to soccer.
(The Knee Journal)
The second leading activity causing knee joint injuries is skiing, which is responsible for around 26% of all sports traumas.
27. The incidence rates of knee injuries are higher among specific sports.
These sports are mainly team activities, such as soccer, football, handball, etc.
28. Half of the people with ACL injury do not return to their previous sports activity.
More of the ACL tears happen in young athletes and they may lead to disability, according to ACL injury statistics.
29. There is a 147.8% increase in the diagnosis of sports-specific injuries of the knee.
(British Journal of Sports Medicine)
Increased training puts young athletes at risk, while emphasizing year-round competitive play. This has led to an increase in sports-related injuries of the knee over the last couple of years, from 2.74 to 6.79 in every 100,000 people.
What are the symptoms of a torn ligament in your knee?
The most common symptoms are the sudden and often severe pain and swelling, especially within the first 24 hours of the trauma. A feeling of looseness in the knee after a loud pop or snap during the injury are also signs of a torn ligament, which leads to knee ligament pain. Another concern is the inability to put weight on the joint without feeling pain.
What is the most common knee injury?
Among the most common knee injuries are tears of soft tissues (i.e., ligaments, cartilages, meniscuses, etc.), dislocations, fractures around the knee, etc. Sometimes, the injuries involve more than one structure in the knee joint. All of these injuries are accompanied by pain and swelling of the joint.
How do I know if my knee injury is serious?
The following signs indicate that the knee injury is serious: swelling, inability to function, inability to straighten the leg, knee instability, and popping of the knee, along with the impossibility to walk. It is essential to provide first aid and seek medical help if you have any of these signs and symptoms.
How long do knee injuries take to heal?
If the injuries are simple strains or sprains that do not require surgical treatment, healing lasts for up to two weeks. When we are talking about more extensive injuries, like those requiring arthroscopic surgery, they may need one to three months to heal. And if the traumas are severe, it may take from a year to a couple of years for the knee to recover.
All people, especially those actively participating in sports activities, should be more aware of the potential risks of knee injuries. Early sports specialization, year-round play, and intense competition are very demanding for professional athletes.
However, amateur athletes are also at risk because of their unstructured training regimen. In line with this, proper physical activity and preparations, such as prevention stretches, are crucial. The knee injury statistics are especially beneficial for raising awareness about these kinds of traumas, especially when we consider the devastating consequences of knee joint injuries, such as disabilities and a reduced quality of life.