Discoid Meniscus

Discoid Meniscus

Article by John Miller

What is a Discoid Meniscus?

Discoid Meniscus

Every knee has a medial and lateral meniscus which are C-shaped pieces of fibrocartilage that absorb stress and act as cushions between the bones at the knee. At birth, the meniscus is not C-shaped but discoid (round like a discus).

With growth and walking, the discoid meniscus evolves into its normal C-shape. In some children, the lateral meniscus continues to stay discoid with growth. The incidence is approximately 3-5% of the population.

discoid meniscus

What are the Symptoms of a Discoid Meniscus?

The most common presentation is a 6 to 8-year-old child with a “snapping” or a “clicking” knee when they walk. However, it is also possible for the onset to occur in the early adolescent years when a child’s sporting activities increase. Luckily, a discoid meniscus is usually pain-free, and the clicking noise is frequently noticed first.

In some instances, as the child grows older, the click increases and may cause recurrent locking, where they cannot straighten or bend their knee fully. This lock will commonly also manifest as pain in the knee.

What Tests Confirm a Discoid Meniscus?

The X-ray appearance is usually healthy in a discoid meniscus. To confirm the diagnosis, an MRI is often necessary to visualise the discoid meniscus.

What is the Treatment of Discoid Meniscus?

In most cases, if there is no significant locking or pain, treatment is non-surgical. Physiotherapist- prescribed exercises consisting of stretching and strengthening exercises for the Quadriceps and Hamstring muscles plus proprioceptive and knee control exercises are normally successful.

In cases where there is a significant disability, surgical excision may occur. In most cases, a partial removal to preserve the cushioning function may be sufficient. You will need to consult with an Orthopaedic Surgeon for a medical opinion.

Please consult your knee physiotherapist or doctor for specific advice regarding your discoid meniscus.

Common Causes - Knee Pain

Knee pain can have many origins from local injury, referred pain, biomechanical issues and systemic issues. While knee pain can appear simple to the untrained eye, a thorough assessment is often required to ascertain the origin of your symptoms. The good news is that once a definitive diagnosis is determined, most knee pain quickly resolves with the correct treatment and rehabilitation.

Knee Ligament Injuries

ACL Injuries

Knee Meniscus Injuries

Kneecap Pain

Knee Arthritis

Knee Tendon Injuries

Muscle Injuries

Knee Bursitis

Children’s Knee Conditions

Other Knee-Related Conditions

Knee Surgery

For specific information regarding your knee pain, please seek the assistance of a healthcare professional with a particular interest in knee conditions, such as your knee physiotherapist.

Knee Pain Products & FAQs

Acute Injury Signs

Acute Injury Management.

Here are some warning signs that you have an injury. While some injuries are immediately evident, others can creep up slowly and progressively get worse. If you don't pay attention to both types of injuries, chronic problems can develop.

For detailed information on specific injuries, check out the injury by body part section.

Don't Ignore these Injury Warning Signs

Joint Pain

Joint pain, particularly in the knee, ankle, elbow, and wrist joints, should never be ignored. Because these joints are not covered by muscle, pain here is rarely of muscular origin. Joint pain that lasts more than 48 hours requires a professional diagnosis.


If you can elicit pain at a specific point in a bone, muscle, or joint, you may have a significant injury by pressing your finger into it. If the same spot on the other side of the body does not produce the same pain, you should probably see your health professional.


Nearly all sports or musculoskeletal injuries cause swelling. Swelling is usually quite obvious and can be seen, but occasionally you may feel as though something is swollen or "full" even though it looks normal. Swelling usually goes along with pain, redness and heat.

Reduced Range of Motion

If the swelling isn't obvious, you can usually find it by checking for a reduced range of motion in a joint. If there is significant swelling within a joint, you will lose range of motion. Compare one side of the body with the other to identify major differences. If there are any, you probably have an injury that needs attention.


Compare sides for weakness by performing the same task. One way to tell is to lift the same weight with the right and left sides and look at the result. Or try to place body weight on one leg and then the other. A difference in your ability to support your weight is another suggestion of an injury that requires attention.

Immediate Injury Treatment: Step-by-Step Guidelines

  • Stop the activity immediately.
  • Wrap the injured part in a compression bandage.
  • Apply ice to the injured part (use a bag of crushed ice or a bag of frozen vegetables).
  • Elevate the injured part to reduce swelling.
  • Consult your health practitioner for a proper diagnosis of any serious injury.
  • Rehabilitate your injury under professional guidance.
  • Seek a second opinion if you are not improving.

Article by John Miller

Elite Sports Injury Management

You probably already know that a sports injury can affect not only your performance but also your lifestyle. The latest research continues to change sports injury management considerably. Our challenge is to keep up to date with the latest research and put them to work for you.

How we treated you last year could vary significantly from how we treat you this year. The good news is that you can benefit considerably from our professional knowledge.

What Should You Do When You Suffer a Sports Injury?


Rest from painful exercise or a movement is essential in the early injury stage. "No pain. No gain." does not apply in most cases. The rule of thumb is - don't do anything that reproduces your pain for the initial two or three days. After that, you need to get it moving, or other problems will develop.

Ice or Heat?

We usually recommend avoiding heat (and heat rubs) in the first 48 hours of injury. The heat encourages bleeding, which could be detrimental if used too early. In traumatic injuries, such as ligament sprains, muscle tears or bruising, ice should help reduce your pain and swelling.

Once the "heat" has come out of your injury, you can use heat packs. We recommend 20-minute applications a few times a day to increase the blood flow and hasten your healing rate. The heat will also help your muscles relax and ease your pain. If you're not sure what to do, please call us to discuss your situation specifically.

Should You Use a Compressive Bandage?

Yes. A compressive bandage will help to control swelling and bleeding in the first few days. In most cases, the compressive dressing will also help support the injury as you lay down the new scar tissue. This early healing should help to reduce your pain. Some injuries will benefit from more rigid support, such as a brace or strapping tape. Would you please ask us if you are uncertain about what to do next?


Gravity will encourage swelling to settle at the lowest point. Elevation of an injury in the first few days is beneficial, especially for ankle or hand injuries. Think where your damage is and where your heart is. Try to rest your injury above your heart.

What Medication Should You Use?

Your Doctor or Pharmacist may recommend pain killers or an anti-inflammatory drug. It is best to seek professional advice as certain medications can interfere with other health conditions, especially asthmatics.

When Should You Commence Physio?

sports injury

In most cases, "the early bird gets the worm". Researchers have found that the intervention of physiotherapy treatment within a few days has many benefits. These include:

  • Relieving your pain quicker via joint mobility techniques, massage and electrotherapy
  • Improving your scar tissue using techniques to guide the direction it forms
  • Getting you back to sport or work quicker through faster healing rates
  • Loosening or strengthening of your injured region with individually prescribed exercises
  • Improving your performance when you return to sport - we'll detect and help you correct any biomechanical faults that may affect your technique or predispose you to injury.

What If You Do Nothing?

Research tells us that injuries left untreated take longer to heal and have lingering pain. They are also more likely to recur and leave you with either joint stiffness or muscle weakness. It's important to remember that symptoms lasting longer than three months become habitual and are much harder to solve. The sooner you get on top of your symptoms, the better your outcome.

What About Arthritis?

Previously injured joints can prematurely become arthritic through neglect. Generally, there are four main reasons why you develop arthritis:

  • An inappropriately treated previous injury (e.g. old joint or ligament sprains)
  • Poor joint positioning (biomechanical faults)
  • Stiff joints (lack of movement diminishes joint nutrition)
  • Loose joints (excessive sloppiness causes joint damage through poor control)

What About Your Return to Sport?

Your physiotherapist will guide you safely back to the level of sport at which you wish to participate. If you need guidance, ask us.

What If You Need Surgery or X-rays?

Not only will your physio diagnose your sports injury and give you the "peace of mind" associated, but they'll also refer you elsewhere if that's what's best for you. Think about it. You could be suffering needlessly from a sports injury. Would you please use our advice to guide you out of pain quicker? And for a lot longer.

If you have any questions regarding your sports injury (or any other condition), don't hesitate to get in touch with your physiotherapist to discuss. You'll find our friendly staff happy to point you in the right direction.

Article by Jamie Van Beek

What Does Arthritis In The Knee Feel Like?

Arthritis is an inflammatory disease of the joints. Ankle arthritis typically requires an injury to start the chain of events that lead to ankle arthritis. Knee arthritis can simply develop the disease over time. Given no precipitating event needs to occur, and it usually onsets gradually over time, it’s sometimes difficult to recognise the signs and symptoms of Arthritis. People can suffer from pain that they incorrectly attribute to general old age. If diagnosed and managed correctly, it can drastically improve function and quality of life.

Some signs your knee pain may be Arthritis are:

  1. Swelling after activity - Your knee may appear puffy or be harder to bend. It may feel ‘full’. The knee swelling is being produced by inflammation. Other classic signs of inflammation to look for are redness, warmth and pain around the joint line.
  2. Morning stiffness - Your knee doesn’t tolerate periods of inactivity as well as it used to. This is most noticeable in the morning after sleep but improves with movement.
  3. Achy pain - Arthritic pain is most commonly described as achy. Sometimes it is broad and encompasses the entire knee. Other times it affects only one knee compartment, most commonly the inside compartment and thus produces pain only on the inside.
  4. Clicking or popping sounds - In the later stages of the disease, Arthritis causes the cartilage surfaces to roughen. This can produce clicking or popping sounds in the knee. It's important to note that some knee sounds are normal. Your physiotherapist can help you decide what knee sounds are of concern.
  5. Giving away or locking - Your knee may occasionally buckle when you put weight on it, especially when using stairs. It might also become stuck in a bent position for short periods. Bumpy cartilage surfaces may be stopping the joint from gliding smoothly, or pain might be inhibiting your ability to use your muscles efficiently.

Understanding what's going on in your knee will inevitably lead to better management. Much research has focused on improving function and avoiding surgery for knee arthritis, and these protocols have demonstrated excellent results. Whilst a diagnosis of Arthritis may sound daunting, all it means is you now have a ‘why’ for the pain and an opportunity to do something about it.

So please don’t delay in seeing your knee physiotherapist for their opinion on your knee pain.

Knee Pain Products

Article by Zoe Russell

How Do I Know If I Need An MRI On My Knee?

After having a knee injury, you will often wonder if you should have scans, and often many people ask whether we should have an MRI?

Through a thorough discussion of your knee and the objective testing your physiotherapist performs, a clinical diagnosis will often be sufficient to diagnose your injury and provide your treatment plan. Part of this assessment that your physiotherapist performs will include a discussion of whether you require imaging for your injury. While various imaging tests can be a valuable part of your management plan for your knee injury, the imaging tests should be condition-prioritised. Your skilled healthcare practitioner considers the clinical evaluation to determine that the best imaging modality (e.g. X-Ray, CT, MRI, Ultrasound) is specific to your problem.

A simple rule for choosing whether to have an MRI of the knee is

“imaging should exclude or rule out an injury that would change your management plan or require medical intervention”.

Another reason you may choose to obtain imaging on your knee is that, despite a well-considered management plan, it is failing to respond in the way we would expect based on the diagnosis.

If you have a trauma, and there is a deformity of your knee, or you cannot weight bear on your knee, it may be beneficial to obtain Plain Radiographs, known as X -Rays. A series of Rules, known as the Ottawa Knee Rules, that your physiotherapist will use to help determine if you need a Radiograph.

Suppose you have an injury, and your knee is giving way, collapsing, locking or even stuck and cannot move. In that case, your Physiotherapist or Doctor will often suggest MRI ascertain if your injury requires specialist intervention to assist in your recovery. The most common example of this is when you have a locked knee that is the result of an injury to the meniscus, the MRI will be required urgently to quickly ascertain if you need to proceed to the specialist sooner, as this type of injury is less amenable to non - surgical care.

There are always rare conditions that can present, and the knee is a joint that is known to succumb to conditions such as infections and even gout! In these cases, MRI cannot distinguish between conditions, and it may be more appropriate to have blood tests to confirm the diagnosis and appropriately direct management!

Whilst investigations of knee pain can be required for your injury, it is often best to discuss your injury with your physiotherapist so that they can assess your knee and provide guidance on the best-suited imaging modality to your problem to expedite your recovery!

So please don’t delay in seeing your knee physiotherapist for their opinion on your knee pain.

Knee Pain Products

Article by Shane Armfield

How Much Should I Walk With Knee Pain?

This question depends on how you managed to get knee pain. If you have had a recent significant injury, you should limit how much walking you do until assessed. This is especially true if you are experiencing substantial swelling, any feelings of instability, or getting any painful clicking or locking of the knee.

If your pain is more chronic or intermittent, walking may be precisely the type of exercise you need. We will all avoid what is uncomfortable or painful, but if we avoid using the muscles and joints in our legs, including the knee, we will just decondition. As we lose muscle strength, the pain we have been experiencing may continue or become more apparent with less provocation.

This should be fine if you can walk comfortably and the pain does not worsen as you walk. You may need to limit the distance you walk, the speed you walk, avoid hills and uneven ground. It is also a good idea to walk a loop as it may reduce the distance you have to walk to get back home.

You need to monitor for swelling or increased pain after walking. If you get noticeable, increased swelling, you have overdone it, similarly, with increased pain. If you get increased knee pain into the evening or the next day, you have overdone it again.

Reducing the weight you are carrying is also something to consider, so don't carry bags or groceries when walking. If you are walking for exercise and want to reduce the weight through your knee, you can walk in a pool to reduce your body weight.

As you improve, you can increase your distance and start to incorporate hills and uneven ground. Most rehabilitation programmes for knee pain/injury will include walking at some stage.

If you have any queries regarding walking for your knee problem, speak to your physiotherapist, who will be able to assess the level of walking exercise you can conduct. They will also be able to progress you through a staged programme to your desired activity level.

So please don’t delay in seeing your knee physiotherapist for their opinion on your knee pain.

Knee Pain Products

Article by Zoe Russell

Can A Torn Meniscus Heal Without Surgery?

The meniscus of the knee is a highly specialised structure to dissipate the forces that go through your knee. However, when we sustain a tear of the meniscus, this ability is impaired, which can have consequences for our knee health. The main reason is limited meniscal blood supply. And blood supply is required for meniscus healing.

When we tear our meniscus, the location and nature of the tear can be crucial. If the site of the meniscal tear is in the outer zone, known as the red zone, there is a greater blood supply to this region. Therefore, it has a greater healing capacity. The inner zone, known as the white zone, has less blood supply, and often healing is sub-optimal. Ironically, this is where most of the tears occur in the meniscus of the knee!

It is important to note that a healed meniscus does not mean that it is pain-free! Many people who have never had knee pain can have tears of their meniscus on MRI.

We need to consider many different factors when trying to determine if we need surgery for a meniscal tear! A thorough assessment of your knee with your PhysioWorks Physiotherapist will help guide your treatment choice! It is essential to recognise that everyone's case is different, and the present symptoms will guide the most effective treatment strategy.

Acute tears, where we often remember a specific mechanism, usually of a rotation nature, may require surgical intervention due to the limited healing capacity of the inner or white zone. These tears are often associated with mechanical symptoms, such as:


If you feel like your knee is stuck in one position and cannot move it, early imaging and referral to an orthopaedic specialist may be recommended.

Clicking or Catching

This may indicate a loose body or piece of the meniscus that is problematic.

However, not all clicks are concerning. Often your Physiotherapist will ask about a change in your clicking and if it is painful or related to your symptoms.

With acute meniscal tears with these mechanical symptoms, you may require surgery to help with your symptoms. The surgical option is highly dependent on the location of the tear. Also, the shape of the tear and your age. Depending on the nature of your injury, they may debride or trim the free edge of the tear or stitch the injured region.

For acute injuries or a knee that is locked, early referral to an Orthopaedic Specialist may be required. Your Physiotherapist can help guide you through this process, advise on activities and exercises that you can do to help expedite your recovery and then follow up on a rehabilitation program at an appropriate time.

As we age, our menisci have less ability to absorb the forces due to the changes in the collagen that forms the meniscus. It's a bit like wrinkles on your face. Our menisci can be slightly easier to injure - often with most of us not knowing that we have done it! Conversely, we can have symptoms that present over time, known as Degenerative Meniscal tears. These types of tears are known as degenerative meniscus tears.

Current evidence demonstrated that surgical intervention is not better for degenerative meniscal injuries than high-quality non-surgical care. Non-surgical treatment includes appropriate exercise and may also have activity modification for a short period and liaison with your GP about the utilisation of medications to manage any flares are of symptoms. Your Physiotherapist is experienced in prescribing these programs to expedite your recovery!

Regardless of your meniscus injury nature, it is crucial to have specific, individualised advice regarding your injury.

In short, the healing capacity of the meniscus is limited. However, not all tears require surgery! More often than not, you can treat your meniscal injury successfully with physiotherapy. Your PhysioWorks physiotherapist will conduct a thorough physical assessment and recommend a treatment plan specific to your meniscal injury and goals.

PhysioWorks offer same-day appointments for prompt diagnosis and rehabilitation plan. Your PhysioWorks Physiotherapist has a particular interest in knee injury and can help guide your rehabilitation to get you back to what you love faster!

Article by Matthew Batch

Can You Walk With A Torn Ligament In Your Knee?

Yes, you can walk on your knee in most mild to moderate knee ligament injury cases. But, it is also essential to know when it is detrimental for you to be weight-bearing or walking on your injury.

Ligaments are band-like structures that run from one bone to another. They provide support to the body by limiting excessive movement at its joints, ultimately improving the area's stability.

Importantly, ligaments are not the only structures that serve as a source of stability for the body. The shape of a joint, its capsule, cartilage, and surrounding muscles and tendons can also contribute to this.

Whilst this means that it is possible to walk despite an injury to a ligament of the knee, it does not mean that the role of the ligaments is made redundant by the support from the other body parts. You may still experience pain, swelling, instability of the knee and decreased confidence with movement or weight-bearing.

Your physiotherapist or doctor should professionally assess each knee ligament injury. They will determine which ligaments are damaged, their severity, and whether we need to brace your knee, limit motion, keep you non-weight-bearing for a period or even require surgery to repair. Every knee ligament injury is different, so they need individualised management strategies.

If you suspect that you have suffered a ligament injury to your knee, please have your physiotherapist or doctor professionally assess it to tailor your recovery appropriately!

Knee Pain Products

Article by Shane Armfield

At What Age Do Knee Problems Start?

Knee pain can start at many different times throughout your life but is usually due to specific conditions.

Children and teenagers can experience knee pain due to conditions such as Osgood Schlatters, patellofemoral pain, or due to injury. These are usually time-limited and will resolve with time and treatment. It is worth getting your child’s knee pain assessed as a return to activity or sport can be optimised by your physiotherapist. Rare conditions such as Juvenile Chronic Arthritis (JCA) can occur and need specialist assessment and management. This appears as a painful swollen, sometimes red joint even at rest.

Adults in their twenties and thirties are most likely to get knee pain due to injury. Sport or vigorous work activity can lead to ligament damage, cartilage damage, muscle strains or tendon injury. These need to be assessed and treated as untreated injuries can lead to you having an increased chance of further injury. It can also increase your chances of developing Osteoarthritis at a later stage. Suppose you have injured your knee and experience significant pain weight-bearing, considerable swelling, any painful clicking or locking or feelings of instability in the knee. You need to have this assessed. Visit your physiotherapist, who is highly skilled at assessing the knee and the most appropriate management plan.

Pain in the knee can start in later life even with no injury history. All joints in the body will have an element of degeneration over time. It is a normal part of aging and can include thinning cartilage, meniscal tears, increased bone growth and increased laxity of supporting ligaments. This is essentially Osteoarthritis. This can start even in your thirties; although this is rare, but is more common for people in their fifties or sixties. Some people can get significant evidence of osteoarthritis on an X-ray, experience little or no pain, and have excellent function. Other people can have low levels of osteoarthritis and experience considerable pain.

The pain is usually related to weight-bearing activity, especially involving twisting movements. There is occasional swelling associated with this, but this does not always occur. This often happens if someone has significantly increased activity on the knee within a short period. People looking to get back to sport or exercise after a period of inactivity or getting stuck back into the garden to beat back the weeds may experience a flare of pain in their knee. Osteoarthritis needs to be treated as it can ultimately lead to avoidance of exercise or movement. This can then exacerbate other problems such as cardiovascular disease. Your physiotherapist can treat osteoarthritis and develop a programme to restore your knee's strength and functional capacity.

Sometimes in later life, people get to the stage where a knee replacement is required to restore pain-free movement and function. This is a very successful operation but does require some rehabilitation afterwards to get optimal results.

PhysioWorks offer same-day appointments for prompt diagnosis and rehabilitation plan. Your PhysioWorks Physiotherapist has a particular interest in knee injury and can help guide your rehabilitation to get you back to what you love faster!

So please don’t delay in seeing your knee physiotherapist for their opinion on your knee pain.

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Article by Scott Schulte

How Do You Know If You Need A Doctor Or Physio For A Knee Injury?

Knee pain or knee injuries can be a common occurrence whether you’re a seasoned athlete, weekend warrior or infrequently active. If you’ve sustained a knee injury and need to see someone, you may be unsure where to start – a physiotherapist or the doctor?

Here are some points to consider when deciding who to see first.

When Should You Consult Your Doctor First?

Please consult your doctor if you have any broken skin or bone injuries. If you require wound care, your doctor is the expert. Likewise, if your normal bone alignment appears distorted from trauma or you have extreme and unrelenting pain, you should immediately go to a doctor or the emergency department. They will be able to assist you with prescribed pain relief and further investigation of your injury. You should also visit your doctor if you have any warmth, redness and swelling around your knee with pain unrelated to movement. These are potential infection symptoms that require urgent medical attention.

In non-urgent knee conditions, your doctor will assess your knee in the clinic. They will use their professional expertise to determine if you require some prescribed pain relief, referral to a physiotherapist, surgeon, imaging or another medical specialist. Some doctors have additional training in musculoskeletal and sports injuries, which is very beneficial in assessing and managing knee injuries.

Luckily most cases of knee pain respond to non-surgical and non-urgent care to restore normal knee function. Knee rehabilitation is where your highly skilled knee physiotherapist can assist you.

When Should You See Your Physiotherapist?

Your physiotherapist can assist you in diagnosing your knee injury and promptly commencing treatment. Physiotherapists are highly trained in the clinical diagnosis and management of knee injuries, sports and musculoskeletal injuries.

Your physiotherapist will also customise your rehabilitation to optimise your recovery and assist you in returning to full function as fast as possible. Throughout the rehabilitation, your physiotherapist will maintain clear communication with your GP, if you have one, and provide updates as you progress. If they feel that a second opinion, such as an Orthopaedic Surgeon assessment is warranted, they will direct your management accordingly.

If required, your physiotherapist may immobilise you or fit a knee brace to support and protect your knee during the acute stages of injury. Plus, they may refer you for imaging if your clinical presentation warrants additional diagnostic testing.

Your Decision

Whether you consult your doctor or physio first is entirely your decision. Either way, you don’t need a referral to see your doctor or a physiotherapist. But, if you require an appointment with a surgeon or diagnostic imaging, you will require a referral.

If you are unsure, please call us at PhysioWorks. One of our knee physiotherapists will assist your decision process based on your concerns.

Knee Pain Products

Article by John Miller

Common Youth Leg Injuries

Why are Children's Injuries Different to Adults?

youth sports injuries

Adolescent Leg Injuries

Adolescent injuries differ from adult injuries, mainly because the bones are still growing. The growth plates (physis) are cartilaginous (strong connective tissue) areas from which the bones elongate or enlarge. Repetitive stress or sudden large forces can cause injury to these areas.

In the adolescent leg, common injuries include:

Osgood-Schlatter's Disease

Pain at the bump just below the knee cap (tibia tubercle). Overuse injuries commonly occur here. The tibia tubercle is the anchor point of your mighty quadriceps (thigh) muscles. Because of excessive participation in running and jumping sports, the tendon pulls bone off and forms a painful lump that will remain forever. This type of injury responds to reduced activity and physiotherapy.

More info: Osgood Schlatter's Disease

Sinding-Larsen-Johansson Disease

Pain at the lower pole of the knee cap (patella). Overstraining causes Sinding-Larsen-Johansson disease. Because of excessive participation in running and jumping sports, the tendon pulls bone off the knee cap. This type of injury responds to reduced activity and physiotherapy.

More info: Sinding Larsen Johansson Syndrome

Anterior Knee Pain

Anterior knee pain or patellofemoral syndrome frequently gets passed off as growing pains. Cause of this pain includes overuse, muscle imbalance, poor flexibility, poor alignment, or more commonly, a combination of these. Anterior knee pain is one of the most challenging adolescent knee injuries to sort out and treat. Accurate diagnosis and treatment with the assistance of a physiotherapist with a particular interest in this problem usually resolves the condition quickly.

More info: Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Knee Ligaments

The cartilage between the leg bones has a better blood supply and is more elastic in adolescents than adults. As adolescents near the end of bone growth, their injuries become more adult-like. Hence more meniscal and ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries are likely. MCL (medial collateral ligament) injuries result from a lateral blow to the knee. Pain felt on the inner side (medially) of the knee. MCL injuries respond well to protective bracing and conservative treatment.

More info: Knee Ligament Injuries

ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) Injuries

This traumatic knee injury is significant. Non-contact injuries of the ACL are becoming more common than contact injuries of the ACL. Adolescent females are at high risk. Combination injuries with MCL or menisci are common. Surgical reconstruction is needed if the adolescent wishes to continue participating in "stop-and-start" sports.

More info: ACL Injury

Meniscal Injuries

Your meniscus is crescent-shaped cartilage between the thigh (femur) and lower leg (tibia). Meniscal injuries usually result from twisting. Swelling, catching, and locking of the knee are common. If physiotherapy treatment does not resolve these damages within six weeks, they may require arthroscopic surgery.

More info: Meniscus Tear, Discoid Meniscus

Sever's Disease

Heel pain is commonplace in young adolescents due to the stresses of their Achilles tendon pulling upon its bony insertion point on the heel (calcaneum). It is a common overuse injury due to excessive training and competition, particularly when loads are increased dramatically in a short period. Diminished flexibility and muscle-tendon strength mismatching may predispose you. Physiotherapy, reduced activity, taping and orthotics are the best ways to manage this debilitating condition for the active young athlete.

More info: Sever's Disease

Ankle Sprain

An ankle sprain is probably the most common injury seen in sports. Ankles sprains involve stretching of the ligaments and usually occur when the foot twists inward. Treatment includes active rest, ice, compression and physiotherapy rehabilitation. With the correct treatment, a low ankle sprain usually improves in two to six weeks. Your ankle physiotherapist should check even simple ankle sprains to eliminate high-ankle sprains. A residually stiff ankle post-sprain can predispose you to several other lower limb issues.

More info: Sprained Ankle

Patellar Instability

Patellar (kneecap) instability can range from partial dislocation (subluxation) to dislocation with a fracture. Partial dislocation treatment is conservative. Dislocation with or without fracture is a much more severe injury and usually will require surgery.

More info: Patella Dislocation

Osteochondritis Dissecans

The separation of a bone from its bed in the knee joint is Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD). This injury is usually due to one major macro event with repetitive macro trauma that prevents complete healing. This injury is potentially severe. Treatment varies from rest to surgery. An Orthopaedic Surgeon's opinion is vital.

More info: Juvenile Osteochondritis Dissecans (JOCD)

Growth Plate Fractures

A fracture through the growth plate can be a severe injury that can stop the bone from growing correctly. These fractures should be treated by an Orthopaedic Surgeon, as some will require surgery.

Avulsion Fractures

youth pelvis hip avulsion

Image source: https://radiologyassistant.nl/pediatrics/hip/hip-pathology-in-children

An avulsion fracture occurs when a small segment of bone attached to a tendon or ligament gets pulled away from the main bone. The hip, elbow, and ankle are the most common locations for lower limb avulsion fractures in young sportspeople.

Treatment of an avulsion fracture typically includes active rest, ice and protecting the affected area. This active rest period is followed by controlled exercises that help restore range of motion, improve muscle strength and promote bone healing. Your physiotherapist should supervise your post-avulsion exercises. Most avulsion fractures heal very well. You may need to spend a few weeks on crutches if you have an avulsion fracture around your hip. An avulsion fracture to your foot or ankle may require a cast or walking boot.

An excessive gap between the avulsed bone fragment and main bone may not rejoin naturally in rare cases. Surgery may be necessary to reunite them. In children, avulsion fractures that involve the growth plates also might require surgery. All avulsion fractures should be reviewed and managed by your trusted physiotherapist or an Orthopaedic Surgeon.

For more information regarding your youth sports injury, please consult your physiotherapist or doctor.

Youth Leg Injuries

Pelvis & Hip


Heel & Ankle

Common Youth & Teenager Sports Injuries

Common Youth Neck & Back Pain

Common Youth Arm Injuries