SPORTS INJURY & TREATMENT

KNEE

The largest joint in the body is the knee which is also most prone to injuries. It is separated by two discs (menisci) that also separates the upper and lower bones. The ligaments, tendons and muscles connect the upper (femur) leg bone and lower leg (tibia and fibula) bones. Articular cartilage covers the surface of bones inside the knee joint which absorbs the shock and provides a free joint movement. Knee problems are very common among people of all ages, and the most common reason is sports injury (ruptured ligament/ torn cartilage). Some of the common injuries are:

LIGAMENT INJURY:

Ligaments are bands of tissue that connect the bones in our body. There are four ligaments in our knee that are prone to injury:

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL):It is one of the two ligaments that connects the thigh bone to the shin bone. Sports such as football, basketball, skiing and tennis have a high risk of ACL injuries. The injury often happens if you land on your leg and then twist your knee in the opposite direction. Women are more prone to such injuries than men.

  • Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL): It is the second ligament that connects the thigh bone to the shin bone. PCL injuries are the result of a sudden and direct impact, experienced during a game of football, for instance.

  • Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL): It is the ligament that connects the thigh bone to the fibula and gives stability to the outer knee. Hence, LCL injury can occur if is there is a direct injury to the inner part of the knee, like it occurs in rugby or football.

  • Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL):It is the ligament that connects the thigh bone to the fibula and gives stability to the outer knee. Hence, LCL injury can occur if is there is a direct injury to the inner part of the knee, like it occurs in rugby or football.

CARTILAGE:

There are two types, namely, menisci (which act like shock absorbers in the joint) and articular cartilages (which cover the ends of the long bones at the knee joint).

  • Articular cartilage injury is damage caused to the tough cartilage that lines the ends of bones. It is common in runners and is also seen in skiers, cyclists, and soccer players.

  • Meniscal cartilage injuries are one of the most common sports injuries, which occur by twisting, pivoting, cutting or decelerating in athletes.

KNEE DISLOCATION:

It occurs when the bone covering the knee (patella) moves out. Due to sudden stress or a traumatic injury to the knee, tearing of all the ligaments, and leading to knee dislocation.

TREATMENT

Immediately following the dislocation, the knee should be stabilised by relocating the joint, and then splinting the knee joint with a brace.

After a period of time, say two to three weeks, the patient will undergo reconstruction of the torn ligaments, inside as well as on the outside.