Whether it’s on the GAA field, the soccer pitch, the tennis court, or the basketball court, acute knee injuriesare becoming a prevalent injury in today’s world of sport. Lower limb injuries are predominant in elite Gaelic footballers, accounting for 77% of all injuries. Thirty two percent of these injuries occur to either knee orankle ligaments, with 16% to either knee or ankle tendons.
So What are The Most Common Knee Ligament Injuries & How Can We Prevent Them?
We’ve all known someone who has “done their ACL” and had it managed conservatively or surgically. The ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) is the ligament which stabilizes the knee joint anteriorly (shin bone from sliding forward past your thigh), and is a common injury in sport due to the quick changes of direction and fast turning nature of the game. ACL tears are the most common cause of extended absence from sport.
Below: Diagram of the Knee
MCL and LCL (Medial and Lateral Collateral Ligaments)
Injury to the MCL is more common than to the LCL. Both injuries occur from a twisting mechanism of the knee with the foot planted in the ground or from a direct blow to the outside of the knee (MCL) or inside of knee (LCL).
PCL ( Posterior Cruciate Ligament) Injury to the PCL is not as common as the above injuries as it is a much larger and stronger ligament than the ACL. This may result from a collision or due to a fall onto the ground with the knee bent.
Tips for Preventing Knee Injury
Whether you’ve never had a sports injury and you’re trying to keep it that way or you’ve had an injury and don’t want another, the following tips can help:
- When landing think of the whole leg as a giant shock absorber – the hip, knee and ankle should all contribute by bending on impact.
- Do warm-up exercises not just before vigorous activities like running, but also before less vigorous ones such as golf.
- Cool down following vigorous sports. For example, after a race, walk or walk/jog for five-ten minutes so your pulse reduces gradually while waste products are continued to be removed from tired muscles.
- Ensure you have the correct footwear for your given sport
So if You Have Suffered An Injury…
Your chartered physiotherapist will be able to help you with regards to landing technique, type of strength drills and pre/post game activities to keep your knee in optimal health. If you are one of the unlucky ones that need a surgical repair, I cannot stress enough the importance of your rehabilitation post surgery.
If you have had serious knee injury, you will now most likely appreciate the importance of sticking to a rehab program in order to return to sport. Keeping regular visits with your physiotherapist to monitor and record your progress is really a crucial part of returning to sport. So if you think we can help your rehabilitation after injury contact us today!