2 Major Knee Injuries Are Lurking, Learn How to Prevent Them

Do you live an active lifestyle? If so, that’s a good thing. An active lifestyle is more commonplace these days than it used to be, and not without reason – people are far more aware of the importance of staying fit than before. At the very least, the stigma of physical fitness being the province of jocks is more or less a thing of the past. While risks do exist, and knee injuries are common, people are remaining active. In fact, today it’s hardly even remarkable to see someone carrying a yoga mat with them as they go about their day before or after a good yoga routine, or someone biking their way to work if their distance and climate permit.

The ambition for living a healthy lifestyle is commendable, as there are more than enough risks of losing ourselves to a sedentary lifestyle these days, one has to respond to such risks with an active mindset and body.

Sports are Always Good for Your Overall Health

If you’re looking to get into sports, that’s a good thing too. Again, the notion that sports – whether solo or team – are only for jocks is a bygone idea, and everybody these days tries are tying to be more balanced and well-rounded. Many professionals shed the suit and tie on the weekends for a good game of basketball or soccer with their friends or kids; this is becoming more and more popular even among middle-aged people who want to avoid slowing down too much as they advance in age. Family men and women have embraced such lifestyles too, as they find greater fulfillment in joining their kids in sports than they do just watching from the sidelines.

And if you’re already athletic and sports-involved, there is every reason to keep going, too – we want to make the most of what our days have to offer, and to do so we need to stay as healthy and fit as we realistically can. However, whether you’re getting into it or continuing to play, it’s a good idea to be safe and avoid knee injuries that can rob you of the enjoyment of the sport.

Knee Injuries Are The Most Difficult to Deal With!

Knee injuries, for example, are notoriously difficult to bear and deal with. We hear about them all the time – some are career-threatening for our favorite athletes and sports entertainers. A knee injury tends to be career-threatening for a reason: the knee is essential for almost every sport, as our legs have to move us in position for virtually every moving sport. The knee assembly is formed by three bones that converge: the upper leg bone or femur, the kneecap or patella, and the lower leg bone or tibia. These bones are mediated by cartilage that allows them to interact without friction. This underappreciated assembly is so surprisingly complex in how it deals with carrying and distributing our weight – even under normal non-sports circumstances – that we tend to overlook it. Sadly, knee injuries are fairly common – making up some 55% of all sports injuries – and they can be hard to get past.

There are two major types of knee injuries: acute injuries and overuse injuries.

  • Acute injuries are sudden, and typically occur during activity that uses the joint. ACL and MCL sprains – where ligaments are stretched or torn — are the most common athletic acute injuries. ACL injuries usually occur when an athlete quickly shifts direction, goes into a sudden stop, or lands badly from a jump. MCL injuries, on the other hand, usually occur when the outside of the knee joint takes impact – this is usually seen in contact sports or bad landings that involve that part of the knee.
  • Overuse injuries are caused by continuous pressure on the knee, or too-long repeated action. These include bursitis, which is inflammation of the bursa, runner’s knee (patellofemoral pain syndrome) which is muscle weakness under the kneecap leading to abnormal patella movement, or jumper’s knee (patellar tendinitis) which is inflammation of the tendon connecting the patella to the quads.

When a ligament tears, other tears tend to accompany it. ACL injuries are common in skiing, basketball, snowboarding, soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, and even lacrosse, while MCL injuries are usually seen in contact sports like wrestling or martial arts, and hockey. Overuse injuries tend to be seen a lot in running, swimming, cycling, rugby and the like.

Knee Pain – Varying Symptoms

Knee injuries have varying symptoms usually depending on what specific part of the assembly is affected. Symptoms generally include swelling, redness, stiffness, limping, instability, and problems like knee locking or an inability to straighten the knee. ACL injuries are usually accompanied by a loud popping sound and immediate flash of pain, while MCL injuries are usually accompanied by pain when the MCL is given pressure as well as increasing instability. Partial, incomplete and complete MCL tears are possible too.

What helps with knee joint pain?

There are ways to prevent athletic knee injuries too, mainly having to do with adequate protection and support as well as intelligent and prudent movement.

  • Don’t compete or play without the appropriate protective gear. Depending on the sport this may include kneepads or shin guards.
  • Pick your shoes wisely – wear shoes that fit properly and offer good support to maximize leg alignment as well as balance.
  • Don’t forget to warm up and cool down. Getting your muscles ready for a fully strenuous workout involves loosening them up a bit, and allowing them to taper off will be helpful too.
  • Try to develop flexibility.
  • When landing from a jump, bend your knees to take up the shock.
  • For that matter, use knee joints to crouch before moving laterally or pivoting – this will help reduce risk of ligament damage.
  • Check in with a trainer or doctor if you have knee pain – don’t ignore it. They may be able to fill you in on how to relieve joint pain, as well as give you informed diagnoses about how to proceed.
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