Chances are that if you live an active lifestyle which involves high impact sports (running, soccer, basketball, fighting, etc) for a long enough period, you’ll have knee problems at some point. I’m a soccer player who also happens to be a mixed martial arts student and yup… you guessed it, I’ve had my fair share of knee issues. Same thing applies to the runners, dancers, and basketball players that are in my inner circle of friends. All that being said, even people who don’t partake in high impact sports aren’t immune to knee problems.
At this point, you may be wondering why the human knee is so vulnerable to injury. Well I think the answer to that question lies in understanding the structure of the human knee joint. The human knee is mostly held together by tendons and ligaments which you can think of as thick fibrous bands of tissue, as well as some cushioning in the form of cartilage. While these ligaments, tendons and cartilage are usually pretty strong in their own right, they don’t have the same level of structural integrity that bones do for instance. As a result, if enough force is applied to the knee at just the right angle, a tendon, ligament, and/or some cartilage could tear.
When we think about the structure of the human knee, it may seem a bit silly that such an important joint would be held together by mainly ligaments and tendons. Seriously though… why didn’t the creator just cast each of our knees in solid bone so that we never hurt them? Well a legitimate argument could be made that the knee joint is so designed because it has to somehow be strong enough to carry each individual’s body weight while at the same time maintaining enough flexibility to allow either of us to abruptly change direction should we find ourselves in the the way of an onrushing vehicle. In short, we give a little in the way of knee stability in order to gain knee flexibility which ends up being more evolutionarily favorable. Continue reading How to relieve knee pain