5 Daily Activities To Reduce Risk of Knee Injury

The knees are so essential for our mobility but often times, we tend to overwork them or neglect to take care of them. Athletes are more prone to knee injuries and the injuries that they incur might be more severe. It could be an acute injury from accidents or overuse injury from excessive stress on the knees for long periods of time.

However, it is possible to prevent knee injury. There are simple things you can do every day to protect your knees, reduce the risk of twisting them and cutting down on the stress you put on them.

1) Stand on one leg

This stance helps to improve your balance and knee stabilizing strength. Simply stand on one leg, but avoid pulling your other leg all way up in a tight grip. Keep it bent loosely and spread your arms out to balance if needed. To increase the difficulty, you can slowly rotate your upper body left and right.

2) Stretch your hamstring

This exercise can be done anywhere, whether you’re taking a walk from your desk or watching TV. It strengthens your hamstring to give you more balance and reduce stress on your knees. Position one foot on a chair or a high step while keeping the other leg and your back straight. Then lean forward and hold the position for 20 seconds, feeling the stretch down the back of your leg.

3) Wear comfortable shoes

Avoid high heels and shoes that are too tight. Choosing a good fit helps maintain a proper leg alignment and balance, which takes pressure off the knees. You can choose to wear running or tennis shoes as those give more cushion and support. Shoe orthotics that you can buy at drugstores would also be a good alternative to give more stability and comfort.

4) Use a knee brace

Especially when engaging in sports, fabric sleeve brace provides support for the knee and prevents injury. If your daily activities involve bending, squatting and frequent changing directions, using a brace would prevent acute injuries or wearing your knees out.

5) Keep a healthy diet

To keep your knees strong, you need to keep your bones strong with a healthy diet. Take more dairy and dark green, leafy vegetables. It is especially important for elderly people and women that have gone through childbirth to replenish the calcium lost in old age and labour.

Knee Cartilage Injuries: Cause & Symptoms

Located in our knee are cartilage tissues that act as shock absorbers. These shock absorbers are tough but yet flexible tissues that are located throughout our body, covering all the surfaces of our joint in order to facilitate the smooth gliding motion of our bones. It is because of these cartilage tissues that we are able to jump and run without experiencing pain. One downside of it is that the tissues do not have their own blood supply. This means that once they are injured or damaged, the healing process is extremely slow. Someone who has a damaged cartilage tissue will then experience pain during periods of motion. One of the most common places of injury is the knee and we will look into the causes and symptoms in this article.

Causes:

Knee cartilage injuries are usually articular cartilage damages. The articular cartilage is a soft and springy type of cartilage located between the joints and is a common yet serious form of damage. The result is swelling, pain and loss of mobility in the knee. Injuries can occur mainly from three main forms – osteoarthritis, osteochondritis dissecans and a sudden trauma. Osteoarthritis is a form of long-term damage and is especially targeted towards patients who have had their knee meniscus removed or are overweight. Osteochondritis dissecans occur when a part of the cartilage and a piece of attached bone breaks away from the joint. Lastly, trauma occurs during high impact activities such as sports. Sports players are at a higher risk due to the high levels of risk they face.

Symptoms:

The symptoms for a damaged knee cartilage are pretty similar to most forms of knee injuries. The first and foremost symptom is the onset of pain. This pain is increased when an attempt to straighten the knee is made, resulting in the inability to walk properly and bear full body weight on the knee itself. Swelling will also happen due to the increase in blood flow to the knee in order to combat infection. There may also be a creaking or cracking sound when you are moving the knee joint.

Cartilage damage is common among people and most people with mild damages do not seek medical help. The number of patients with this form of injury is most prevalent in patients under the age of 35 as that age group leads the most active lifestyle, with men at a much higher risk than women.

5 Most Common Sports Injuries

Sports injuries are common injuries for athletes and they can affect every part of our musculoskeletal system. There are hundreds of sports injuries out there and some can have a serious impact on the future of the athlete’s career. Read on to find out which injuries are the most common ones suffered.

Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles Tendinitis is an injury that occurs when the Achilles tendon which is located at the back of the ankle is overused. It occurs commonly in athletes who are involved in sporting activities that requires them to jump, hop or run for prolonged periods of time such as soccer, running and long jumping. Chronic Achilles Tendinitis can result in inflammation and serious pain which will result in the inability to run.

Concussion

Concussion happens when there is a direct impact to the head. This is most common in high impact sports such as rugby and soccer. Remember that incident where Petr Čech of Chelsea was knocked unconscious and had to undergo a skull fracture surgery? Concussion will result in vision disturbance and disorientation. In serious cases, they can be unconscious as seen in the case of Petr Čech. Recovery period of mild cases of concussion is often fast while serious cases can cause possible permanent damages.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament tears

One common knee injury is the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear. The ACL is one of the 4 major knee ligaments and it provides stability and even stresses distribution across the knee. During high impact and high speed sports, the ACL can be twisted and torn when a directional change is attempted. When a patient has a torn ACL, he will not be able to walk and will require crutches to move about. Recovery from ACL tears will take at least 6 months.

Groin strains

Groin strains occur when the adductor muscles located at the upper thigh is pulled and strained. It often happens when a sudden change in direction is attempted and the muscles have no time to respond, resulting in them being pulled. This is most common in high speed sports such as soccer, rugby, basketball and volleyball.

Shoulder injuries

Shoulder injuries include shoulder sprains, strains and dislocations. This is often seen in sports which require extensive usage of the shoulder such as swimming, badminton, volleyball and tennis. Due to overuse, the shoulder joint which is essentially a ball and socket joint becomes loose, resulting in the rotator cuff loosening. When this happens, it becomes weak and is prone to injuries and dislocations.

Top 3 Most Knee Damaging Activities

Living an active lifestyle is great and the health benefits associated are undisputable. Exercising regularly is important to strengthen our muscles and better support our joints. Weak joints will increase the chances of misalignment for the bones, ligaments and tendons. However, it may also cause problems for your knee. Our knee has to bear the brunt of our body weight and activities such as running and jumping will cause a lot of compressive stresses on the knee and wearing out the cartilage. Although our knee is designed to take all these things thrown at it, it will give way eventually. There are some activities that are especially damaging towards the knee and let’s explore them further.

Activities are classified into 2 different groups, namely low-impact and high-impact. Low impact exercises as the name suggests does not cause much problems for the knee. They include yoga, swimming, cycling and walking. These activities ensure that the knee is properly supported even though it’s being used extensively. Another group is the high-impact group which includes jumping, running and weightlifting.

Jumping

Jumping is a high-impact activity that places tremendous stresses on the knee whenever you land. Your body weight is amplified through jumping and landing awkwardly places even more stresses, leading to a weight of roughly twice your original weight. Activities that require jumping as core such as basketball should be avoided by people with bad knees.

Running

Running is another high impact activity that is bad for knees. However, running methods and surfaces can be changed to allow a lesser impact on the knees. For example, striking the floor with your mid-foot is less damaging compared to a heel strike. Also, there is a push towards barefoot running which supposedly reduces injuries. The running surface can be changed to a softer one such as natural grass or stadium tracks. The soft surface can help to cushion and absorb some of the impact.

Weightlifting

Weightlifting requires flexing of the knee joint and your knees not only have to bear your body weight, it now has to take both your body weight and the free weight into consideration. This places an absurd amount of stress on your knee and this is further intensified when you attempt to bend and stand up.  Not only does your knee get damaged, the surrounding tissues such as the tendons and ligaments can easily tear.

Knowing what are the activities that causes huge stresses on your knee is important so that you can make an informed decision on what to do and what not to do. You need a functional knee every day and you do not wish to be inconvenienced by a knee injury that you can easily avoid.

 

Effects of Arthroscopy Surgery

Arthroscopy surgery is a commonly performed surgery that helps to treat knee problems. The main difference from normal open surgery is that small incisions are made to allow a small camera and surgical devices to be placed at the knee joint. Since only small incisions are made, the recovery time will be shorter and there will be less potential complications as compared to open surgery. However as with all surgery, there are some effects after the surgery that are due to the surgery itself.

Decreased range of motion

After surgery, some patients may experience a decreased range of motion for their knee. This decrease in range of motion can be attributed to both the injury itself as well as the trauma during the surgery. Over time and physical therapy, the full range of motion can be obtained. However in severe and rare cases, patients may experienced stiffness in their knee for the rest of their lives.

Blood clots

There is always a possibility that blood clots will form at the surgical site after surgery. This is due to the nature of the anaesthesia, causing the surgical area to be numb and devoid of blood. This can result in blood pooling in the bottom half of the body and result in blood clots after the surgery.

Infection

Although all the surgical instruments are sterile, there is still a low risk of infection in patients due to different reasons such as poor surgical techniques and inadequate sterilisation of medical personnel. Some pre-existing conditions of the patients can also increase the risk of infection such as diabetes. Infection can cause serious problems in patients and patients will need to consume antibiotics orally to be cured.

Further injuries due to surgery

The entire surgery will be carried out in a careful and meticulous way. However, since arthroscopy surgery involves the use of surgical instruments passing through small incisions in the knee, some further damages or injuries to the knee could happen when trying to pass the instruments through. In unfortunate scenarios, the surrounding tissues and nerves could also be accidentally injured. However, this is a very rare thing to happen.

Hemarthrosis

Hemarthrosis is a rare effect of arthroscopy surgery. It is a collection of blood at the surgical site which can cause pain if there is a significant amount of blood. It will also lead to inflammation and infection.

Above are some of the effects of arthroscopy surgery. Overall, it is a rather safe surgical method but it depends on the quality of the surgeon you choose as most of it is due to poor surgical techniques.

Possible Sports Injuries From Full Contact Martial Arts

Many people around the world participate in martial arts. There are 3 types of martial arts namely the light, medium and full contact martial arts and as the names suggest, each differs in the amount of body contact involved. Martial arts have many benefits to it, most prominently are the health benefits as well as the coordination between various parts of the body, body balance and flexibility. However, as with all kinds of full contact sports, there are injuries that are associated with it.

Facial Laceration

Facial lacerations are the most common injuries sustained from full contact martial arts. They account for nearly 50% of all injuries in martial arts. Martial arts is all about predicting what your opponent will do next and if you fail to react accordingly, it can cause trauma to parts of your body, commonly the face. The result of a full blown kick to the face can cause facial laceration.

Knee Tendinitis

During martial arts, tremendous stress is placed upon both of the knees and kicking is required throughout the whole session. As such, it can cause hypertension of the knee joint which will result to tendinitis. It can create strain to the back of the knees, patellar tendons and patella, causing pain and discomfort in players.

Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains are also a common injury in martial arts due to the nature of uneven surfaces that the event take place. Most venues will place gym mattresses or other soft cushioning materials to absorb the impact of players. However, these soft and uneven surfaces can lead to improper weight distribution when kicking, causing sprains in the ankles.

Kneecap Dislocation

Kneecap dislocation is a serious injury that happens when the patella is shifted out of alignment with the knee. It is often caused by improper leg alignment or sudden kneeling motion, causing a sudden trauma to the knee.

Plantar Fasciitis

Whenever our feet is in use, the connective tissue or plantar fascia which supports the arch of our foot will tighten and stretch. However, it is prone to overuse if the incorrect footwear is worn. It is especially common in people with flat feet and who do not use the correct footwear with the correct support.

Martial arts have a low risk of injury as compared to other full contact sports such as rugby. Most of the injuries that are suffered are often minor such as bruises. However, more serious injuries can happen either due to trauma or due to improper usage of protective equipment or total lack of them. Upon injury, for personal well-being, it is highly recommended to pursue professional diagnosis for the injury. It should be regardless of perceived severity as most injuries do not reveal the actual impact until years later or when there is severe pain. If the martial artist is serious about his practice, then all injuries should be treated at earliest time possible.