Knee Injuries Associated with Snow Sports

During ski season, a common injury we see here at Primary Healthcare Utah is a tibial plateau fracture. 

What is a Tibial Plateau Fracture?

When skiing, this fracture is caused by putting too much pressure on the back knee during turns as you head downhill. You can prevent this injury from happening by lifting your rear leg and putting your ski parallel to the front ski each time you turn.

Let’s look at other causes of tibial plateau fractures as well as the symptoms, treatments and when it is time to visit Primary Healthcare. 

What is the Tibial Plateau?

Located at the upper end of the tibia (shinbone), the tibial plateau consists of two rounded projections (condyles)  that form the top surface of the tibia within the knee joint. The tibial plateau plays a vital role in weight-bearing and the stability of the knee.

What is a Tibial Plateau Fracture caused by? 

Tibial plateau fractures typically result from high-energy trauma, like falling from a height or car accidents. They are also a sports related injury commonly seen with downhill skiiers. 

Elderly people can also suffer from a tibial plateau fracture after a low energy trauma like a simple fall. 

Symptoms of a Tibial Plateau Fracture 

Some of the common symptoms of a tibial plateau fracture include: 

  • Limited range of motion: Difficulty in moving the knee joint due to pain and swelling.
  • Pain: Intense pain around the knee, aggravated by movement.
  • Swelling: Immediate and significant swelling of the knee joint.
  • Bruising: Bruising around the knee and lower leg may be evident.
  • Inability to bear weight: Patients may struggle to put weight on the affected leg.

When to see your doctor

If you have pain and swelling around your knee that lasts more than 2 days or inability to walk, please schedule an appointment online at www.PHCmed.com or by calling (801) 758-8735. 

Dr. Kevin Mangum with Primary Healthcare is a Sports Medicine Physician who can diagnose and offer treatments, including non-surgical options when prudent.

Diagnosis

When you come into Primary Healthcare Utah with knee pain and swelling, we will begin with a clinical evaluation and imaging. X-rays are commonly used, but in more complex cases we might need to schedule CT scans or an MRI to better visualize the extent of the fracture and associated soft tissue injuries.

Treatment Options

There are many treatment options available for tibial plauteau fractures. The treatment options depend on various factors including the severity of the fracture, patient age, and overall health. Common treatment options might include:

  • Non-surgical management: For less severe fractures, immobilization with a cast or brace and a period of non-weight-bearing may be sufficient.
  • Surgical intervention: In more complex fractures or cases with displaced bone fragments, surgical options such as internal fixation (using screws or plates) or external fixation may be recommended.

Post-treatment, rehabilitation is crucial for restoring knee function and preventing complications. Physical therapy plays a key role in strengthening the surrounding muscles and improving joint mobility.

Overall Takeaways

If you are experiencing knee pain and swelling, especially after skiing, schedule an appointment with Dr. Kevin Mangum at Primary Healthcare Utah. 

Dr. Mangum did a fellowship in Sports Medicine and specializes in injuries of the joints and soft tissues. He will work with you to come up with a treatment plan that will get you back to your active life as soon as possible. Schedule an appointment online by clicking here or by calling (801) 758-8735. We look forward to helping you!

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