Sprains Strains and Other Soft-Tissue Injuries

Let’s talk about most common knee injuries associated with the sports. Knee is most commonly injured joint in high intensity sports like soccer, football, basketball, and gymnastics and even in runners. As we know, pain in the knee can be very debilitating. It inhibits us from walking, stair activities, kneeling and preventing athletes from getting back to their athletic sports.

Knee joint works for mobility and stability of our entire body. Knee is considered to be a very complex joint both anatomically and biomechanically. It is a very mobile joint and thus, it is very lax as well. Apart from the vulnerable bone of patella (knee cap), there are Sprains, Strains and Other Soft-Tissue Injuries  like the ligaments and meniscus in between the femoral and tibial bone that can be injured and be the cause of an athletes knee pain.

The most common injuries pertaining to the knee in sports are anterior cruciate ligament tear (ACL), medical collateral ligament tear (MCL), posterior cruciate ligament tear (PCL), Sports Injury Rehabilitation (SIR), meniscal tears, patella-femoral syndrome or tendinitis, tendon tear. Each of the soft tissue between knee joint has a specific function.

First of all, it’s better to avoid injuries with proper strengthening of the muscles surrounding the knee joint and even strengthening the muscles of the ankle and hip joint. Athlete should also take care of proper stretching of the muscles and to give them proper amount of resting time. Muscles need time to recover. Athlete should also be taught proper mechanisms of doing the particular leg movement they need to perform during the sport.

If the knee gets injured, you have to consult your orthopedic doctor and if needed get the required radiological tests done to know your diagnosis. Once you are approved for physical therapy rehabilitation, the therapist will start your treatment according to the extent of the injury. Recent knee injuries usually have swelling, redness and pain. The muscles around the joint get stiff. In this first phase the athlete is most of the time supposed to go with RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) treatment. You can compress it with an ACE bandage or tapping. Once the swelling is relieved, the athlete is taught open chain exercises for quadriceps strengthening. The exercises have to be mainly knee extension exercises with few sets of hamstring setting exercises. Quadriceps isometric exercises are beneficial as

it helps to keep the muscle working with a little movement at the knee joint. Gradually, the athlete is taught to increase the intensity of the exercise by progressing to squatting upto 90 degrees, partial lunges and balance activities. If required in some cases, to progress to ambulation. Athlete can then progress to high intensity exercises and knee flexion exercises in the pain free range. Once the muscle strength has improved, the athlete can progress to going back to the sports gradually.

Thus, knee joint is vulnerable to injuries and need to be taken care of with high intensity work out or movement.

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