Knee Cartilage Tear

Football is very fast-paced, unpredictable game and is increasingly becoming a contact sport, which means players are very likely to become injured whilst playing. Older footballers, female players and players who have been injured in the past are more prone to getting injured on the pitch.

What Causes a Knee Cartilage Tear?

Cartilage is a strong, fibrous tissue that covers the surface of joints, preventing damage and reducing friction when bones slide over each other. The knee cartilage supports your weight when you move, ensuring your weight is distributed evenly across the knee joints when they bend. As the knee joint bends, the thighbone rolls over the shinbone. If you twist sharply when the knee joint is bearing weight, the cartilage can get jammed between the bones, causing a tear. If the cartilage is torn, the knee will be swollen, painful and movement in the joint will be limited. A small tear may not cause too many problems, but if the tear is more substantial, your knee may lock or give way. Footballers are prone to this injury because it can occur during a bad tackle, a bad fall or from gradual wear and tear by overexerting the knee joints over a long period of time.

Prevention of Knee Cartilage Tears

Doing exercises that strengthen the hamstrings and quadriceps in the thigh will help players to deal with the strain that is put on the knees when playing football. However, because the injury is most likely to occur if twisting sharply when the knee is in a semi-bent position, it can be very difficult to prevent.

Treatment for Knee Cartilage Tear

In the short-term anti-inflammatory drugs and ice treatment will reduce pain and swelling. Small tears can usually be resolved through physiotherapy exercises that strengthen the muscles that surround or support the knee joint.

Surgery for Knee Cartilage Tear

Larger tears require surgery to remove the torn cartilage, which is known as a meniscetomy. The surgeon will use an arthroscope (a camera that allows the surgeon to see the inside of the knee) and trim away the torn cartilage. Players will require 4-6 weeks of physiotherapy following the operation.

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