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3 Signs You Have a Major Knee Injury

If you play contact sports, you are constantly at risk of injuring a major joint such as your knee. Many athletes complain of a popping sensation in their kneecap. This can be a common issue as cartilage is torn repeatedly in contact sports. While a popping sensation alone may not be cause for concern, there are five signs you should look for to determine if you should make a trip to the local sports injury clinic. 


Swelling can be caused by a number of knee injuries some of which are serious. If you notice that your knee begins immediately after an injury, you may have torn your ACL or fractured your kneecap. Swelling is caused by a fluid build-up in a joint. This fluid is released in response to an injury as a way to prevent further injury.

The first steps you should take if you notice your knee beginning to swell is to elevate the joint and apply ice to the area. This can help relieve both the swelling and the pain. If you notice the swelling is getting worse or not going away, it is time to meet with a sports doctor to determine the extent of the injury.

Did You Hear a Pop?

While it is common to feel a popping sensation under your kneecap, especially if you play sports, if you have felt and heard a loud painful pop, it is time to stop what you are doing and seek immediate attention for your injury. Many athletes will tell you that their teammates heard the pop when they tore their ACL. An audible popping sound that can be heard by others is a sign of a serious knee injury that should not be ignored.

Locking or Buckling

A locked knee indicates a tear in the meniscus. This type of reaction is more common in younger athletes and is caused with the torn piece flips under the kneecap preventing it from moving properly. If your knee is locked in place, you should immediately seek medical treatment as the longer you ignore the issue, the more damage you can do to your knee joint.

A buckling knee is most common with ligament tears. The ligaments in your knee attach the muscles to the bones in and around your knee. When these ligaments tear, you lose the connection and therefore, the stability of your knee. In most cases, these injuries will require surgical repair.

If you have noticed any of these signs during or after a sports related injury, you should seek treatment from a sports injury clinic. These clinics specialize in the treatment of athletes and their injuries and have a high success rate of getting patients back into the game.

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