Cartilage & Football
In football, torn cartilages are a prevalent
form of knee injury. Despite what the name suggests, this
injury actually involves damage to the Meniscus within the
knee rather than the cartridge.
The use of the term ‘cartilage’
is perhaps due to the fact that the Meniscus is composed of
tough fibro cartilage. Found in pairs and located within each
knee joint, the Menisci have a distinct C-shape and a noticeable
thickness around their rims. The menisci functions as a shock
absorber, especially in activities that involve a lot of weight
With the bending of the knee joint comes in
corresponding motions from the thigh bone. The thigh bone
will typically roll, spin, and glide on the surface of the
shin bone. However, in the event that a twist occurs while
the joint is still bearing weight, there will be a rotation
which can cause the Menisci to get crammed and squeezed in
between the shin and thigh bone. A tear of the meniscus may
happen if there is enough force from the twist.
Cartilage Signs & Symptoms
Although the lack of nerve supply ensures that
damage to the meniscus itself will be painless, the force
of the twist will cause damage to other knee structures. The
Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) and the Coronary ligaments,
the structures that fasten the Meniscus to the shin are often
injured. The damage to these connective parts may cause the
player's knee joint to swell up.
A tear in the Meniscus will have a very poor
chance of healing since in addition to the lack of nerve supply,
there is also very limited blood supply to this area. The
tear will eventually create a flap which will disrupt the
normal mechanics of the joint. This condition may cause the
footballers knee joint to suddenly lock in one position. Also,
there will be a clunking sound present when the knee is either
bent or flexed. When engaged in activities like walking downstairs,
the knee may buckle and eventually give way.
In some instances, a return to football can
be immediately facilitated since the initial knee pain and
swelling will eventually subside, allowing the knee joint
to settle down. Such conditions are possible because of two
possibilities - either the tear in the Meniscus is minimal
or the flap does not disrupt the movement of the joint.
In the case of football players, surgery may
be necessary to correct a flap that causes buckling or giving
way of the knee. The surgery is performed arthroscopically,
a procedure where the surgeon uses a small camera to help
guide the use of a burring device. By removing the flap, the
device will help make the surface of the meniscus smoother.
After a typical overnight confinement in the hospital, the
player can immediately begin rehabilitation.
The primary aim of Physiotherapy treatment is
to lessen the pain caused by the inflammation of the knee.
The treatment involves the application of ice packs to the
knee every couple of hours, for 20 minutes each time. However,
the patient must be careful since the ice packs can cause
ice burns when placed directly on the skin. When used properly,
the ice packs will help alleviate the pain as well as reduce
bleeding within the tissue. It is recommended to use reusable
ice packs. View
Reusable ice packs
If there are anxieties caused by fears of the
knee ‘giving way’, it would be advisable to use
a knee brace since it can provide the knee
joint with a certain measure of stability. Along with physiotherapy
treatment, the knee brace will help the patient develop confidence
in his knee joint. Modern knee braces now offer support and
stability without restricting motion so they can be utilized
from rehabilitation all the way up to the patient’s
return to his regular athletic activities.
After the surgical wounds have healed, it is recommended for
players to engage in Water Exercises or Hydrotherapy in order
to maintain muscular fitness. The patient may opt to use a
buoyancy aid which will enable him to do jogging motions without
actually touching the pool’s bottom. This is a low-impact
activity that will give the patient some cardiovascular exercise
while helping him regain the knee’s normal range of
motion. Pool running is an ideal post-surgery activity since
it does not put any strain on the knee joint.
here to view buoyancy jackets for water therapy
Torn Cartilage Prevention
A torn cartilage is an injury that cannot be
easily prevented. However, developing strength in the Quadriceps
and in the Hamstrings may be useful in preventing the occurrence
of torn cartilages.
Football Rescue Recommends
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medial and lateral support ideal for footballers. Multi-tiered,
plush-lined elastic body with wraparound design.
Knee sport strap is designed to simulate knee joint strapping
techniques used to support the collateral knee ligaments and
restrict joint rotation but still enable