Ligament Injuries : Judo Injuries

Judo is a fast paced sport that involves a considerable amount of intense changes in direction, twisting, lifting, and landing from falls and throws. This means that the ligaments used in supporting the joints and assisting with movements are liable to be injured due to the frequency of strenuous motions.

Ligament Sprain

A common and often minor ligament injury is a sprain. This can occur when the ligament is stretched too far beyond its normal range of motion. In judo this can arise when making an intricate turn or other evasion, or while executing a throw or falling onto the mat. These manoeuvres vary every time, with no two throws ever exactly alike, which is why such injuries can be unpredictable. However if the muscles associated with the ligaments are weakened then this can put you at greater risk of injury. Sprains are sometimes major depending on the individual and severity of the injury, and multiple sprains are a possibility.

Sprain Symptoms and Treatment

Pain and inflammation in the area of the damage are the most common symptoms for minor sprains. Major sprains can feel more intense, but it is important to have any sprain checked by a doctor so that they can assess the severity. Even minor sprains generally require rest for a number of weeks due to the healing properties of connective tissue. Anti-inflammatory pain medication and ice can reduce the symptoms. A harsher sprain will put you out of action for longer and can require surgery. Physical therapy can help to build up ligament strength once the injury has healed.

Ligament tears

A ligament tear is more serious and likely to occur due to a direct blow to the knee, either from a fellow athlete or the judo mat. This can happen at any point in a competition, though landing awkwardly on the knee is a particular risk factor. A poorly executed throw or bad falling technique can lead to such accidents.

Tear Symptoms and Treatment

At the time the knee usually buckles and pain will be severe. See a doctor as soon as possible and they will examine the injury. Treatment will depend on the extent of the damage and which ligament is affected. The medial and lateral collateral ligaments usually take less time to recover than the anterior or posterior cruciate ligaments, but rest and other treatment still lasts for approximately 6 weeks. If a cruciate ligament has been torn, this can leave the knee permanently damaged. Surgical intervention is a popular option in this case for athletes who require better healing than non-athletes. The recovery process can last for months but it is necessary to maximise the chances of a successful return to judo and other activities.

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