Recovering From Knee Injuries

Recovering From Knee InjuriesSimilar to shoulder injuries, the last thing an athlete wants to suffer from is a knee injury. For most sports, the lower half of the body is crucial for optimum performance during competitions. Within the knee area resides numerous ligaments and tendons that are vital to the body, especially for activities such as running and jumping. Below we’ll dig a bit deeper into what makes up the knee, some common knee injuries, and how to recover following an injury.

The Knee

The knee is one of the most complex joints in the body. It’s where multiple bones meet, such as the femur and tibia, and where numerous ligaments and tendons meet to form connections between bones and muscles. Some of the main ligaments include the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), MCL (medial collateral ligament), and LCL (lateral collateral ligament). [1] Each ligament has a specific function and is crucial when it comes to movements such as sprinting and agility work. For example, the ACL stabilizes the tibia and femur bones, preventing them from sliding around. For athletes in all sports, a healthy knee can make or break their chances of success on the playing field.

Typical Injuries

Due to the complexity of the knee, there are numerous knee injuries that athletes need to be aware of. One knee injury that often makes headlines, especially due to its frequency in professional sports such as football and basketball, is a sprained or torn ACL. The ACL plays a major role in providing stability to the knee. An ACL tear or sprain occurs with a sudden change in direction or pivot against a locked knee, often accompanied by a popping noise and pain in the area affected. [2] Similar to ACL injuries, PCL injuries often happen when playing a sport, or can occur when blunt force is applied to the knee while bent. [3] The PCL is a much larger ligament than the ACL, and thus makes up only 20% of knee injuries.

How to recover (Surgery vs. Personal Training)

ACL injuries, especially tears, often require surgery in order to start the recovery process. A test that is used to help determine if the ACL is in fact damaged or torn is the Lachman test, which involves pulling an examiner grasping the tibia and pulling away from the stabilized femur. If there is an ACL injury, there will be a mushy feeling in the knee area as the tibia moves forward. [4] As opposed to ACL injuries, physical therapy is often the best route to take when recovering from a PCL injury. For sprains or even some partial tears, a typical recovery involves a long course of intensive physical therapy to strengthen the surrounding muscles controlling the knee. If the PCL is fully torn, surgery is required. If surgery is the chosen route, there is still a long period of physical therapy that follows to regain range of motion in the knee and overall leg that is being affected by the injury. [5]

 

 

Image Credits: www.wsj.com

 

 

Post by Brandon Musto