Sports injuries

No matter what your age, level of fitness or expertise in the sports you undertake, the knee joint and surrounding tissues are vulnerable and prone to injury.

Clearly where sports & physical activity are an enjoyable and important part of you life, it is important after sustaining an injury to have a realistic hope of returning to your previous level of activity & fitness. If this is to be achieved you need to seek advice from a Consultant Orthopaedic Knee Surgeon, who has the necessary training and skills to deliver high quality care in this specialist field. In addition you need to seek a surgeon who is backed up by trained medical professionals in sports medicine and who can deliver intense and accelerated recovery & rehabilitation support after surgery. more suited to the needs & high expectations of sports men & women
At Manchester Knee Clinic we provide rapid diagnosis using clinical, radiological (MRI scans) and knee biomechanical testing methods to diagnose your condition speedily & correctly. Our surgical service is purposely designed to specifically suit the needs and high expectations of sports men & women and your recovery will be accelerated by follow up delivered by our expert sports rehabilitation team.

Common knee sport injuries

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tears

ACL tears are one of the most commonly seen sporting injuries.  This type of injury is often seen in sports that require a high level of twisting and cutting movements from the lower limb, such as football, basketball, netball, volleyball, rugby, snowskiing & waterskiing. Typically, an ACL injury can occur after landing awkwardly from a jump, suddenly decelerating when running or after changing direction when running at speed. Please see our detailed patient information sheet on this condition for further detail of how we treat this injury at Manchester Knee Clinic

Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Tears

The PCL is a common injury related to sports such as rugby and football, especially following a fall onto a bent knee. PCL tears are usually not as dramatic as ACL tears in that following injury the knee will continue to perform but feel weakened and painful at the back of the knee.

Most people with PCL injuries do not require surgical reconstruction but it is important to make the diagnosis early and to treat  the injury appropriately with rehabilitation and/or bracing in order to minimise the recovery time.

Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Tears

Medial collateral ligament injuries are commonly experienced during any contact sport as it is typically caused following a blow to the inside of the leg.

MCL tears typically to heal well without surgery if they are diagnosed speedily and an appropriately timed rehabilitation program is put in place. At Manchester Knee Clinic we provide rapid diagnosis using clinical, radiological (MRI scans) and knee biomechanical testing methods to diagnose your condition speedily & correctly. Your recovery will also be accelerated by the follow up you will receive from our expert sports rehabilitation team.

Lateral Side Knee Injuries/Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) Injuries

The lateral (outside) side of the knee contain 6 very important stabilising structures to the knee, including the LCL. Injury to the LCL is usually caused by a twisting injury combined with hyperextension or a blow to the lateral aspect of the knee.

Because of the nature of this injury it is typically seen along side other injuries such as ACL tears or damage to other supporting structures. A major injury of this type therefore requires rapid diagnosis and surgery in order to optimise the success of recovery. If the opportunity of an early diagnosis and speedy surgery is missed then more complex reconstructive surgery will be required which will adversely effect the chance of a successful result.

Meniscus Tears

The knee contains two menisci, the medial (inside) and lateral (outside). The meniscus acts well as a shock absorber but can sheer easily in rotation injuries in all age groups.

Meniscus tears do not heal and once the meniscus is torn as the torn piece becomes totally dysfunctional. The symptoms from a damaged or torn meniscus include localised pain around the knee, which is worse when twisting. A knee with this type of injury is also prone to swelling, locking or giving way. Meniscal tears will respond well to repair utilizing minimally invasive 'keyhole' surgery and it is important to investigate and treat a problem such as this at the earliest opportunity in order to avoid a sheered meniscus becoming an extended tear. Please see our detailed patient information sheet on this condition for further detail of how we treat this injury at Manchester Knee Clinic.

Patella Dislocation/Instability

The patella (knee cap) is stabilised by the muscles and ligaments surrounding it and can become damaged or dislocated in twisting injuries from sports such as basketball, netball, football and rugby. When the patella dislocates it is typical to feel a popping sensation as the patella pops in and out, accompanied by immediate swelling and pain around the front and side of the knee. Surgery to repair the dislocation should be done within 2 weeks of the injury in order to repair the dislocation successfully and prevent it becoming a re-occurrant problem.

Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)

This condition is caused by a traumatic or gradual wearing away of articular knee cartilage. This condition causes knee pain & locking symptoms which can be reduced reasonably well through minimally invasive 'keyhole' surgery to remove debris and worn off pieces of cartilage. However, in some selected cases a cartilage transplantation procedure may also be appropriate. This advanced technology is not widely available in the UK and is continuously developing. This procedure involves a keyhole procedure to harvest some knee cartilage, which is then sent to a laboratory to multiply more cells. Once sufficient cells are grown, a second procedure is then performed to implant the newly grown cartilage cells.

Patellar Tendonitis (Jumper's Knee)

Patellar tendonitis is a cause of pain at the front of the knee, just below the kneecap. It is a common condition seen sports involving repeated jumping such as volleyball, netball and basketball. The symptoms associated with this condition develop through stages and include intermittent pain during and after the exercise and eventually leading to pain at rest. The treatment of jumper's knee is primarily focused on pain relief, rest and rehabilitation although some problematic cases may require surgery to perform a decompression procedure.

Iio-tibial (IT) Band Syndrome

This is a condition that causes pain on the outer aspect of the knee. It is commonly seen in running and weight bearing sports. Initially pain is experienced on the outer aspect of the knee after activity, but as severity increases, the pain starts to occur during activity and then eventually during rest. This condition commonly occurs in runners who suddenly increase their weekly distance.

Treatment to alleviate symptoms and prevent a re-occurrance involve appropriate rest and rehabilitation, guided by a specialist sports injury surgeon & an expert rehabilitation team.

Osgood Schlatter's Disease/Sindig-Larsson-Johansson Syndrome

These conditions are causes of anterior knee pain typically seen in sporty adolescents. Osgood Schlatter's disease causes specific pain where the patellar tendon joins the shin bone. Sindig-Larsson-Johansson syndrome is a variant of patellar tendonitis and causes pain at the lower pole of the kneecap. These conditions occur due to traction on the bone by the tendons during growth spurts. They are both self - limiting conditions but require appropriate expert supervision & rehabilitation in order to avoid long-term consequences and debilitation.

Chondromalacia Patellae

This is a very common condition covering a range of painful symptoms at the front of the knee, including kneecap malalignment, instability, softening of the cartilage behind the kneecap, overuse tendonitis, cartilage defects & muscle tears.

Accurate diagnosis of this condition requires assessment by an expert sports injury surgeon used to diagnosing and dealing with this type of condition, although this type of condition often responds well to rehabilitation rather than surgery.

Patellar Tendon Rupture

This type of injury is commonly seen in people aged less than 40 years  and is usually associated with some inherent  degeneration or weakness of the tendons. This condition used to be seen more commonly in the past by athletes using steroids to illicitly 'bulk up'. Repairing the ruptured tendon will always require surgery by an expert sports injury specialist. 


of the knee from football, rugby, hockey, & motor sports can occur as a result of a direct blow or impact ranging from anywhere near the end of the thigh bone to the top of the shin bone.  The type of surgery required will depend entirely on the site and complexity of the fracture and although this type of surgery will normally dealt with through an admission in the local Accident & Emergency Unit, it is clearly ideal to have an expert surgeon in sports injuries providing the surgery and supervising the rehabilitation, especially in the case of a young active sportsman or woman.


Knee pain in sports men & women can commonly be due to the development of early wear and tear, which causes osteoarthritis. This can occur in athletes of all ages but tends to be more common in 30 plus age group. The diagnosis of early osteoarthritis does not mean the end of your sporting career but may require a degree of sports modification.

Treatments to relieve the painful symptoms associated with Osteaoarthritis and improve the prospects of a long sporting life may include, strengthening exercises, remedial physiotherapy, prescribed medication, injection therapy, minimally invasive or major joint replacement surgery. Either way, if you are unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with this condition, seeking the opinion and care of the right experts at an early stage is the key to enjoying your sport and a pain-free, active life.