Knee is one of the strongest and most important joints in the body. Besides supporting the body’s weight, they allow movements of the lower legs and are essential for the daily activities like walking, running, sitting and standing. Yet, knee injury is one of the most common injuries faced by young people especially after sudden fall or repetitive overuse of injury during a sport activity. The common knee injury faced by young people includes acute injuries such as ligament tears especially the anterior cruciate ligament, meniscal tears and cartilage injury. Dr Alan Cheung, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon from Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre, shares some advices on how to prevent your knees from sports injury.
Tips to prevent knee injuries
- At least 10 minutes of warm up that involve low intensity exercise and stretches before starting any exercise
- Wear a sensible and well-fitting shoe to maintain proper leg alignment and balance
- A supervised exercise program that helps to strengthen your leg muscle and improve core stability
- Avoid sudden changes in exercise intensity. Instead, gradually build up the intensity and duration of exercise.
- Maintaining a healthy weight to avoid placing additional strain on your joints and increases your chances of developing osteoarthritis in later life
- Choose a low impact exercise in the gym such as rowing machine. Low impact sports outside the gym include swimming and cycling
- Always seek proper guidance and preparation of equipment before embarking upon a new sport involving an increase activity level such as snowboarding, half-marathon
- Get previously untreated sprains and ligament injuries treated to prevent the chance of reinjury and osteoarthritis in the later life
should a person seek medical care?
- When the acute injury does not resolve after RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) method for injuries
- If symptoms such as pain, locking, instability of knees interfere with your normal daily activities or sport activities
Before any treatment, the doctor will first take a detailed history of the injury. He/she will also assess how it is affecting the patient’s life and sport activities through a clinical examination of the body and relevant imaging techniques such as MRI to assess the severity of a patient’s injury.
Depending on the type of injury and assessment, non-surgical such as medication, intra-articular injection, physiotherapy may be prescribed for the patient’s recovery. The doctor may also advise the patient to go for surgery such as meniscal repair, ligament reconstruction, and cartilage reconstruction techniques, depending on the severity and location of the injury.