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A Spill at Parsenn Bowl

Knee Injury and Recovery


Elaine S. Chapman
Department of Biology
Illinois College


Based on a real incident, this case features an older woman who has been injured on a ski slope. Her classic knee injury, often referred to as the “Terrible Triad of O’Donahue,” is complicated by her age, the altitude, and possible hypothermia. In a stepwise fashion, students are introduced to the evaluation of the injury, structure of the knee joint, complicating factors, treatment of the injury, rehabilitation, and the patient’s eventual recovery. The topic of the case is often of particular interest to college-aged student-athletes, many of whom have faced a similar injury. Developed for students in the first semester of a two-semester anatomy and physiology course, the case could be adapted for a human biology course.

  • Describe homeostatic mechanisms involved in maintaining body temperature under cold conditions.
  • Locate the dorsalis pedis pulse.
  • Describe the structure and function of the knee including the lateral and medial collateral ligaments, anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments, bony fit of the knee, muscles that cross the knee, and movements at the hinge joint of the knee.
  • Compare and contrast the information obtained from an X-ray versus an MRI.
  • Explain the signs of inflammation.
  • Define osteoarthritis.
Keywords: Musculoskeletal system; anatomy of the knee joint; bone; cartilage; disuse muscle atrophy; anterior cruciate ligament; medial collateral ligament; meniscus; hypothermia; homeostasis; sports injury; orthopedic surgery
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division, Clinical education, Continuing education
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Interrupted
Language: English
Subject Headings: Anatomy   Physiology   Sports Science   Medicine (General)  
Date Posted: 09/30/09
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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