Sports Injuries in the Knee

The knee is a complex joint.  Because of the complexity of its parts, the ordinary person is susceptible to having a knee injury.  Normal use of the knees plus participation in sports increases the possibilities for injury.  Acute knee injuries happen suddenly and are extremely painful.  Chronic knee injuries are those that have developed and continued over time.  An acute injury might become chronic if not treated.  A chronic injury might be considered acute during a flare up or period of extreme pain.

Knee injuries in athletes may be caused by acute, traumatic injuries like a sudden fall.  Or they may be caused by chronic, repetitive overuse injuries.  Sometimes both factors play a role in the injury.  Chronic injuries may become acute because of a traumatic occurrence.

Some common knee injuries that may occur during participation in sports include:

  • ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) injuriesThe twisting or pivoting motion that accompanies landing from a jump, slowing down when running, and rapidly changing directions may cause an injury to the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL.  Football players and other athletes who wear cleats as well as basketball players and skiers are candidates for ACL injuries.  An ACL injury increases the chances of repeat injuries.  Surgery is a very likely treatment.
  • MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament)  injuriesA direct blow to the outside of the knee may cause an injury to the medial collateral ligament, or MCL.  Contact sports such as soccer and football are where athletes may see such injuries.  An MCL sprain often occurs when an athlete’s knee is forced inward by a hit on the outside of the knee.  In most cases, surgery is not necessary.
  • PCL (posterior cruciate ligament)  injuriesSimple missteps on a playing field or a blow to the front of the knee may cause an injury to the posterior cruciate ligament.  A PCL injury happens when the knee is impacted or twisted in such a way that it is bent the wrong way.
  • Cartilage Meniscus injuriesForceful injuries when direct contact occurs while cutting, pivoting, decelerating, or being tackled may cause a cartilage meniscus injury.  Meniscal tears sometimes occur when there is a ligament tear.  Surgery is usually necessary for a torn meniscus.
  • Kneecap/Patella painRunners knee, or patella pain syndrome or Iliotibial band syndrome, and jumpers knee, or patella tendonitis, are common kneecap conditions.  Runners knee occurs behind the kneecap where the kneecap tracks wrongly against the bone underneath causing kneecap pain or on the outside of the knee as the long tendon rubs over the bone on the outside of the knee.  Jumpers knee occurs below the kneecap.  Young female athletes may develop chondramelacia patella, a cause of pain under the kneecap.   Runners are candidates for these overuse injuries.  They develop over time and could be due to over training, improper running shoes, or poor foot biomechanics (how the structures of the foot work together to perform assorted functions).Young athletes are susceptible to experiencing dislocations or partial dislocations of the kneecap.  The athlete may feel something popping out of and then back in the joint.  Occasionally, the kneecap can be seen toward the outside of the knee.  In any case, the kneecap needs to be correctly repositioned as soon as possible.
  • Back of knee painOccasionally, a knee injury will cause the knee to produce too much fluid.  A Bakers Cyst develops and causes swelling behind the knee.  Relief for the uncomfortable nature of the cyst comes with successful treatment of the original knee injury.

When to Seek Medical Care

Pain and swelling in the knee may be indications of a mild knee joint injury.  If the pain or swelling persists, however, it is wise to make an appointment with one of our JOI Beaches orthopaedic doctors.  More immediate treatment is likely to be in order if a popping noise occurred or the knee gave out at the time of injury, if there is a visible deformity of the knee, if there is an inability to put weight on the leg, or if the knee cannot be moved.

Treatment

The surgeons at Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute Beaches employ various methods to treat the knee injuries of athletes.  For specific knee injuries, surgery may be required.  JOI Beaches surgeons will evaluate your condition and discuss treatment options with you before deciding on a treatment plan.

Running in Humidity

Enjoy your run even in the most humid

temperatures

Running is a pleasurable and addicting way to get in shape. As the temperature rises, however, it can be harder to keep the pace. Running in humidity can really affect your performance and really slow you down if you are not prepared for it. Here are a few tips to keep you running even on the most humid day:

  • First, you need to learn to dress the part. Clothing on humid days can make a major difference between reaching your goal distance and time and giving up pretty early in your run. What you want to look for is lightweight clothing that lets your skin really get some air so that your body’s natural cooling system, sweat, can do its job. Some shirts and shorts are made from a material that helps wick moisture away. Others may have mesh panels that allow for the most airflow. There are a lot of options on the market today, so be sure to research your options and find the one that will work best for you.
  • Don’t forget accessories. Shoes are the most important item for runners, and if you are dealing with high heat and humidity, you want a pair that will help keep your feet cool and dry. Look for a pair of shoes that offers ventilation, as well as gaps, on the soles to allow the most air to circulate. Don’t forget breathable socks as well if you wear them. Other accessories like sunglasses and hats can help protect your face from the sun’s rays and keep you cool. Sweat proof sunscreen is also a must if you are running on sunny days, but really it applies to any time of the year.
  • There are some ways to work around the humidity that you may want to consider. Before you run, sit in a nice air-conditioned car or home and really cool down. This will help you to last just a bit longer when you start running as it will take a little time for your body to heat up. It is also important to stay hydrated, especially on hot muggy days.
  • One of the biggest keys to being able to run on muggy days is getting yourself slowly acclimated to the weather. If possible, try running early in the day or later in the evening on hot days, and slowly build yourself up for runs closer to the middle of the day where the temperatures are at their highest.

Follow all these tips and you won’t let the humidity get you down! For more information on exercise and health, keep reading our blog!

Running on grass

Remember when you were just a child and running was simple? It was nothing more than a large open space, a tag opponent within a reachable distance, and the green grass under your feet. It’s no wonder this sense of freedom and wonderment has spurred a new type of running called the “minimalist” style. In an article titled “New styles of running require new types of shoes,” Dr. Lancaster explains this new trend and how to enjoy it without hurting your tendons and muscles.

Venture off the track and onto something new. The green grass and open trails allows for runners to feel as no terrain is unapproachable.

Getting back to basics is exactly what this style is reminiscent of. Gone are the heavy tread shoes and hard concrete surfaces.  “This [style] involves running barefoot or with minimalist footwear,” says Dr. Lancaster, a renowned orthopedic surgeon at Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute Beaches. “The five finger-type shoe features individual toes that are separately covered, allowing greater flexibility when running.”

Although this type of running brings on more of a sense of adventure and fun, it does come with its precautions to avoid injury.

“This type of running is similar to running in the sand and will stress the calf muscles more, as well as the small individual muscles of your toes and feet,” says Dr. Lancaster. His advice is to exercise or stretch “the foot and toes through a complete arc of motion repetitively [to] minimize the strain experienced.”

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