Knee Sports Injuries

Knee sports injuries are a common issue among athletes and people engaged in physical activities. The knee is a complex joint that is important for movement, stability, and weight-bearing. It is composed of bones, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons, all of which can be susceptible to injury during sports activities. Knee injuries can result from acute trauma, overuse, or improper techniques, leading to pain, swelling, and decreased function.

If you are experiencing persistent knee pain or suspect a knee injury, consult our sports knee injury specialist today to get a comprehensive evaluation and personalised treatment plan.

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Dr Dennis Ng Zhaowen

Common Types of Knee Sports Injuries

  • Ligament Injuries
    Ligament injuries are among the most frequent knee injuries in sports. The ACL, PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), MCL (medial collateral ligament), and LCL (lateral collateral ligament) provide stability to the knee. Injuries to these ligaments can result from sudden twists, direct blows, or improper landings. ACL injuries are particularly common in sports like football and basketball.
  • Meniscus Tears
    The meniscus is a C-shaped cartilage that cushions the knee joint. Meniscus tears often occur during activities that involve twisting or turning the knee while the foot is planted. These injuries can cause pain, swelling, and difficulty moving the knee. Meniscus tears are common in sports that require sudden stops and changes in direction.
  • Tendon Injuries
    Tendon injuries in the knee, such as patellar tendonitis (jumper’s knee), occur due to overuse or repetitive stress. These injuries are common in sports that involve jumping, running, and frequent changes in direction.
  • Dislocations
    Knee dislocations are severe injuries where the bones of the knee joint are forced out of alignment. They are often the result of high-energy trauma and can damage surrounding ligaments, tendons, and blood vessels.
  • Knee Fractures
    Knee fractures can occur due to high-impact trauma, such as falls or collisions. The patella (kneecap) is one of the more commonly fractured bones in the knee. However, fractures of the femur and tibia within the knee joint can also be common and severe. Fractures cause immediate pain, swelling, and inability to move the knee. Fractures can involve any of the bones in the knee joint, including the femur, tibia, and patella.

Causes of Knee Sports Injuries

Knee sports injuries are common among athletes and active people. Understanding the common causes of knee sports injuries can help in preventing and managing these issues effectively.

  • Overuse Knee Joint - One of the primary causes of knee sports injuries is overuse. Repetitive stress on the knee joint, particularly from activities that involve running, jumping, or twisting motions, can lead to conditions like patellar tendinitis or iliotibial band syndrome. Overuse injuries develop gradually over time due to the wear and tear on the knee structures.
  • Sudden Impact or Trauma - Knee injuries often result from sudden impacts or trauma, which are common in contact sports like football, rugby, and basketball. Direct blows to the knee can cause fractures, ligament tears (such as ACL or MCL injuries), or meniscus damage.
  • Poor Training Techniques - Improper training techniques, including inadequate warm-up and cool-down routines, poor exercise form, and excessive training intensity, can significantly increase the risk of knee injuries.
  • Muscle Imbalances and Weakness - Muscle imbalances or weakness, particularly in the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles, can put additional stress on the knee joint, leading to injuries.
  • Previous Injuries - A history of previous knee injuries can make a person more susceptible to future injuries. Scar tissue, weakened ligaments, or improper healing can compromise the stability and function of the knee, leading to recurrent injuries.
  • Lack of Flexibility - Inadequate flexibility in the muscles and tendons surrounding the knee can limit the range of motion and increase the risk of strains and sprains.


Knee sports injuries typically present with various symptoms depending on the type and severity of the injury. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain, ranging from mild to severe
  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Instability or the feeling of the knee giving way
  • Difficulty bearing weight
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Audible popping or snapping sound at the time of knee ligament injury


Accurate diagnosis of knee sports injuries involves a comprehensive approach combining clinical evaluation and imaging studies. The diagnostic process typically includes:

Physical Examination

The knee specialist will assess the knee for swelling, tenderness, range of motion, and stability. Specific tests may be performed to evaluate the integrity of the ligaments, menisci, and other structures.

Imaging Tests

Imaging tests allow the knee specialist to view inside your knee to determine the cause of your pain.

  • X-rays: X-rays are used to look at the bones in your knee. This method can help if there are any fractures or breaks in the bone. X-rays also allow the knee specialist to check the alignment of the bones in your knee.
  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): An MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves to make detailed pictures of the inside of your knee. It shows soft tissues like ligaments, tendons, and cartilage, helping to identify tears or damage.
  • CT (Computed Tomography) Scan: A CT scan takes many X-ray images from different angles and combines them to create a detailed picture of your knee. CT scans can reveal complex bone fractures and other bone issues not easily seen on standard X-rays.
  • Ultrasound: Ultrasound uses sound waves to create images of the soft tissues in your knee. It can help diagnose conditions like bursitis (swelling of fluid sacs) and tendonitis (inflammation of tendons).
Arthroscopic Examination

A minimally invasive procedure allowing direct visualisation of the knee joint. It involves inserting a small camera through a tiny incision to inspect the internal structures of the knee.

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Treatment Options for Knee Sport Injuries

Non-Surgical Options

Non-surgical treatments are often the first line of management for knee sports injuries, particularly for mild to moderate cases. These treatments include:

  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy involves exercises and treatments designed to improve knee strength, flexibility, and function. The knee specialist will create a personalised exercise program to help you recover from injury or surgery and prevent future knee problems.
  • Medication Management: Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications can help manage knee pain and reduce inflammation. If required, your knee specialist could prescribe stronger medications or recommend over-the-counter options such as ibuprofen.
  • Knee Injections: Pain and inflammation may be reduced by knee injections. Common injections, such as corticosteroids, can reduce inflammation. These injections may provide months of relief.
  • Heat and Ice Therapy: Heat or ice therapy can relieve knee discomfort and swelling. Ice packs reduce inflammation and dull acute pain, while heat relaxes muscles and increases blood flow. This at-home knee pain therapy works well if done in 15-20 minutes several times daily.
  • Bracing or Taping: Using braces or athletic tape to provide additional support and stability during activities. This helps prevent further injury and assists in the healing process.
Surgical Options

Surgical intervention may be necessary for severe knee injuries or when conservative treatments fail to provide relief. Surgical options include:

Arthroscopic Surgery
  • Meniscus Repair or Removal: Repairing torn meniscus tissue or removing damaged fragments to alleviate pain and restore function.
  • Ligament Reconstruction: Reconstructing torn ligaments such as the ACL or PCL using grafts from the patient’s own body (autografts) or from a donor (allografts).
  • Cartilage Repair: Techniques like microfracture, autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI), or osteochondral autograft transplantation (OATS) to repair damaged cartilage.
Ligament Reconstruction
  • ACL Reconstruction: Replacing the torn ACL with a graft to restore knee stability. This involves creating tunnels in the bone and securing the graft with screws or other fixation devices.
  • PCL Reconstruction: Similar to ACL reconstruction, but targeting the posterior cruciate ligament.
Tendon Repair
  • Patellar or Quadriceps Tendon Repair: Suturing torn tendon fibres back together and reinforcing them with additional sutures or synthetic material if necessary.
Fracture Fixation
  • Open Reduction and Internal Fixation (ORIF): Realigning broken bone fragments and securing them with metal plates, screws, or rods to ensure proper healing.
Knee Replacement
  • Partial Knee Replacement: Replacing only the damaged part of the knee with an artificial implant, preserving as much of the natural knee structure as possible.
  • Total Knee Replacement: Replacing the entire knee joint with a prosthetic implant to relieve pain and improve mobility in cases of extensive damage or degenerative conditions.

Effective & Evidence-Based Orthopaedic Care

Dr. Dennis Ng is dedicated to understanding your unique needs, focusing on restoring
your active lifestyle and overall well-being.


Specialised Experience In Complex Procedures




Dedicated Aftercare For Optimal Recovery



Our Patients' Feedback

Learn what our patients have to say about our treatments and services.

Jeremy Teo
Jeremy Teo
I tore my left pec muscle after a bench press accident and had the fortune of getting help from Dr Dennis. He is a very caring and helpful individual that you can tell wants the best healing progress for you and actively follows up with you sincerely. I initially had a two month delay and misdiagnosis at Ktph and it caused my tendon to retract. Should have went to Dr Dennis from the start.. 5/5
Emily Loo
Emily Loo
I felt that doctor Dennis is very experienced and he skilfully aligned my fractured toe after my accident so that I didn’t need to do a minor surgery. He was friendly and professional and I felt his fees were reasonable without additional overselling of tests, supplements etc. that I have experienced elsewhere. Overall it was a smooth and effective experience and I would highly recommend doctor Dennis.
Ming W
Ming W
Wonderful experience with Dr. Dennis and his team. The staff were attentive and efficient. Dr. Dennis is professional, caring and knowledgeable. I had a shoulder injury and knee injury that required surgery. The whole journey, including pre and post surgery, Dr. Dennis and his team made sure I received the best treatment possible. Really thankful for the team and I definitely will recommend this place to others.
Jermy Tan
Jermy Tan
Saw Dr Dennis for my lumbar slipped disc. Great doctor and he explained clearly the different options available. Went with surgery and have been recovering well since then.
Amanda Seah
Amanda Seah
I came in with a shoulder injury that meds from a GP did not relieve one month ago. Dr Dennis and his team were great in diagnosing the exact injury with an mri, and he prescribed physio. My shoulder condition has greatly improved and I can now move my arm almost completely! Thank you Dr Dennis!
Jaslyn HENG (Kenrick)
Jaslyn HENG (Kenrick)
A very friendly and nice doctor who manage to cure my elbow issue whjch has been bothering me for more than 6 months! Thank you Doctor Dennis!
Xianmin Jiang
Xianmin Jiang
I had severe left shoulder pain due to exercise. After MRI checking , it was shown high-grade tendon tearing. Dr Dennis did the surgery for my left should calf repair. After surgery, I strictly follow what he suggested. The recovery was really amazing and fast. I was curious about what happened to my shoulder, he explained in details and with great patience. Now, I am fully recovered in a very fast speed and come back to my loved sports and exercises. I definitely recommend Dr Dennis for his profession, patience and delicate skills. Last not the least, thank for his medical team. The nurses are always prompt to reply when I need help and message them.
Omar Lechuga
Omar Lechuga
Dr. Dennis helped me with an elbow pinch coming from a trauma. His attention to detail confidence and great empathy really helped me to fully recover. Thank you Dr. Dennis.
Benjamin Mah
Benjamin Mah
Dr Dennis has been helpful in the diagnosis and explanation of my injury

Dr Dennis Ng Zhaowen
Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
38 Irrawaddy Road #08-41,Singapore 329563

Dr Dennis Ng Zhaowen

  • Senior Consultant Orthopaedic Specialist
MBBS (Singapore)
FRCSEdOrth (Gold Medal Award)

Before private practice, Dr Dennis Ng was the former Deputy Head of the Shoulder & Elbow Division and Sports Knee Division in National University Hospital.

He completed his fellowship at the prestigious Fowler Kennedy Sports Medicine Centre in London, Ontario, Canada, and has rich experience treating professional athletes and returning them to sports. 

Special areas of interests include keyhole and reconstructive procedures of the knee and ankle. 

Common procedures include ACL Reconstruction, Meniscus repair, Cartilage resurfacing, Knee preservation etc.


Our clinic is on the specialist panels of the following Health Networks/Insurance Plans, and we are happy to assist with your claims or
attend to any query you may have.

Personal Insurance

Corporate Insurance

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    Visit Us Today

    Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre

    38 Irrawaddy Road #08-41
    Singapore 329563

    Monday – Friday: 9am – 1pm; 2pm – 5pm
    Saturday: 9am – 1pm
    Sunday & PH: CLOSED

    Other Clinic Location

    Gleneagles Medical Center

    6 Napier Road #07-15
    Singapore 258499

    Monday – Friday: 9am – 1pm; 2pm – 5pm
    Saturday: 9am – 1pm
    Sunday & PH: CLOSED

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    What are the signs that I need to see a doctor for a knee injury?

    If you experience severe pain, swelling, inability to move the knee, or instability, you should seek medical attention. Persistent symptoms that do not improve with rest and self-care also warrant a visit to a doctor.

    How long does it take to recover from a knee sports injury?

    Recovery time varies depending on the type and severity of the injury. Mild injuries may heal within a few weeks, while severe injuries, such as ligament tears, may require several months of rehabilitation. Adhering to a structured rehabilitation program and following medical advice is required for optimal recovery.

    Can knee sports injuries be prevented?

    While not all knee injuries can be prevented, certain measures can reduce the risk. These include proper conditioning, using correct techniques, wearing appropriate protective gear, and allowing adequate rest and recovery time. Maintaining overall fitness and strength, particularly in the muscles supporting the knee, can also help reduce the risk of injury.

    When is surgery required for knee sports injuries?

    Surgery is typically considered when non-surgical treatments fail to alleviate symptoms or in cases of severe injuries such as complete ligament tears, complex fractures, or significant cartilage damage. The decision for surgery is based on the type and extent of the injury, the patient’s activity level, and their overall health.

    +65 9751 1486