Your legs get a lot of use, whether you are going through typical daily activities or spending time exercising or playing sports. Your legs carry your body’s weight, and as a result can be vulnerable to orthopedic injuries. Some of the most common leg injuries include:
- Torn ACL – An anterior cruciate ligament tear is a common injury for basketball and football players. This injury is often accompanied by damage to surrounding ligaments or cartilage. These tears can range from slightly stretched to completely torn into two pieces. Symptoms include pain, swelling, tenderness, and decreased range of motion. Treatment depends on the patient – for example, if you are young and into sports, you may require surgery, which involves rebuilding the ligament, to regain full range of motion in your knee. Non-surgical treatment can include physical therapy or wearing a brace.
- Hamstring strain – This condition involves injuring one of the muscles that are in the back of your thigh, and it is typically caused by overloading the muscle. Like ACL tears, hamstring strains can range from partial to full tears and include pain and swelling. Non-surgical treatment involves rest, compression, elevation, and physical therapy. Full tears may require surgery, with involves re-attaching the hamstring to the bone.
- Runner’s knee – This term can refer to a number of conditions that can result in pain around the knee, and it is common for runners and other athletes to experience it. Runner’s knee can be characterized by dislocation, improper alignment, and weakness, and usually involves pain that worsens with activity. Non-surgical treatment can be very effective and includes compression, bracing, and reconditioning. Surgery can include the removal of damaged cartilage and a realignment of the kneecap.
- Distal femur fracture – A distal femur fracture is a break in the thighbone, just above the knee. There are varying types and severities with this kind of fracture. This type of fracture is usually caused by a high level injury, such as a car accident or significant fall. Symptoms include bruising, swelling, tenderness, pain, and knee or leg deformity. Skeletal traction, bracing, and casting can be utilized to treat a distal femur fracture. In some cases, surgery is needed to hold the bone in place so that it can heal.