Knee Pain-When is it time to seek help?

Posted by Dr. Podesta on March 17, 2011 with 47 Comments

Knee pain is a common complaint among drummers. There are a number of conditions that occur commonly in the knee as the result of excessive activity or a singular traumatic event such as a twist. Many of these conditions will result in knee pain. We need to be able to differentiate which need immediate medical attention and which conditions need medical evaluations.

Basic Knee Anatomy

The knee joint in made up of 4 bones: the femur or thighbone, the tibia or shinbone, the patella or kneecap and the fibula. The bones are held together by 4 ligaments: the anterior cruciate ligament(ACL), the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and the lateral collateral ligament (LCL). These ligaments provide the major stability for the knee.

kneeThere are also two types of “cartilage” within the knee, the meniscus and articular cartilage. Both structures provide stability and an almost friction free surface for the knee to bend.

Finally, the knee is supported by a number of muscle tendons that attach to the bone of the knee to provide movement.

All of these structures can become injured due to a singular traumatic injury or from overuse.

Knee Injuries

The most common injuries that occur with drumming involve either the patellofemoral joint (knee cap).

The majority of the injuries that occur in the knee can be differentiated from one another by where the knee is painful and or swollen.

Knee Cap Pain

Kneecap or patellofemoral pain is the most common knee complaint. The majority of times it is due to the kneecap moving abnormally within the groove of the femur or thighbone. The kneecap can sometimes “track” abnormally or actually jump out of its groove and subluxate or dislocate. If severe enough, this may require a physician to place the kneecap back in its track.

 

Patella Subluxation

Patella Subluxation

Patients will usually complain of pain localized around the kneecap. Swelling in usually not a complaint. Pain occurs with sitting, getting out of a chain or climbing or descending stairs. None of these conditions are orthopaedic emergencies, but should be evaluated by a physician if the persist.

If a knee injury occurs and you have experienced: a pop, pain, immediate swelling, giving way or buckling, locking, bruising or gross knee deformity seek medical attention.

Next months article will discuss the treatment and prevention of knee injuries in drummers.

Filed Under: Articles, Drum Magazine

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