by Alan Jordan
There has been a renewed interest in sports in the UK since London hosted the Olympics last year and many of us are now taking more exercise. Whilst this Olympics legacy is a good thing, it can also lead to sports-related injuries, such as damage to the knee. The two most common knee injuries are the meniscal tear and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture and in this blog, we will take a look at them so you can understand the injuries and the treatments available.
The meniscus is a special disc of cartilage between the two main bones in the knee joint – the femur and tiblia. We have two meniscus in each knee – the medial and lateral – and one sits on each side of the joint.
The role of the meniscus is to manage and distribute the load placed on the knee evenly across the joint. Sometimes, the force placed on the meniscus can result in a meniscal tear, which can cause you to suffer from pain, swelling and mechanical catching or clicking.
In the first instance, rest can help along with ice, compression and elevation of the affected knee. You can take painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuporofen to ease the pain, but you should seek medical advice in case you have a more serious injury.
The swelling and pain should subside after 2-4 weeks, but if symptoms persist, you may need further treatment such as surgery. Many meniscal tears need to be fixed this way and your doctor will decide if this is the right course of action for you based on your individual circumstances.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Rupture
The ACL is a short ligament found in the middle of the knee that runs between the femur and tibia. Its role is to stabilise the knee, especially when you are pivoting or changing direction suddenly.
An ACL rupture occurs when the ACL is torn through force, such as twisting, being placed on the knee. It is quite common amongst players of football, rugby and basketball and the sportsman or woman will often feel a sudden pop when the injury occurs.
ACL can be treated with rest, ice, compression and elevation and analgesia also helps. As with meniscal tears, you should always seek medical attention to rule out a serious injury such as a fracture.
Symptoms include feeling as though your knee could give way, pain and swelling. Again, the pain and swelling should settle after 2-4 weeks, but if the problem continues you may need surgery. ACL reconstruction surgery can be very successful and your doctor will take your circumstances into account when deciding if it is suitable for you.
If you would like more information about ACL, meniscal tears and the surgery available for these knee injuries, read our Broadgate Journal article. You can also read more about consultant orthopaedic surgeon Rahul Patel here https://www.broadgatespinecentre.co.uk/london-sports-medicine/ or call us to book an appointment for knee injury treatment on 020 7638 4330.