(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Knee injuries are a very common occurrence in the young population of UAE due to involvement in high demand contact sports like football, basketball, volleyball, badminton, said Dr Rahul Shivadey, Specialist Orthopaedician, Zulekha Hospital, Dubai.
The human knee comprises four major structures which are commonly injured during such activities. "The most important and commonly injured is the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) which is the primary stabiliser of the knee," said the doctor.
The medial and lateral meniscus (the soft cartilage structure between the knee bones) are also commonly injured during sporting activities. These provide a smooth gliding surface for the knee movements. The PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) which is another knee stabiliser and the collateral ligaments (the external knee stabilisers) are not commonly injured. Certain high velocity knee injuries have multiple injuries and the treatment is challenging.
The patient usually presents with a sudden 'pop' sound in his knee associated with varying degrees of pain and a sense of giving away in the knee. He/she is unable to resume the sport and develops a swelling with difficulty in walking. It is advisable to immediately immobilise the knee and not allow any movements. Massage or manipulation is contraindicated as this may aggravate the symptoms.
An immediate consultation with a knee/orthopedic surgeon is warranted. Routine X-ray and an MRI scan is the basic requisite to arrive at a diagnosis but the final diagnosis and the extent of injury can only be confirmed during the arthroscopic procedure.
The treatment protocol starts with an arthroscopic (keyhole) surgery. ACL injuries require an ACL reconstruction in which a strip of tissue from the same knee is used to reconstruct a new ligament to restore the stability of the knee.
Pure meniscal injuries are also a common occurrence in which the meniscus is either repaired or the loose fragment excised to achieve a stable and pain free knee.
Surgery is followed by an aggressive physiotherapy regimen which involves active patient participation. Strict adherence to the advice along with a successful surgery and physiotherapy ensures a complete recovery and return to sporting activities at the end of 8-10 months. As a general precaution, it is advisable to adequately warm up and do stretching exercises before engaging in high demand sports.