Recovering From A Knee Injury

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Physical injuries can result in not only a lot of pain, but also psychological strain and mental stress. Physical rehab is one of the most common agents to help someone recover from an injury, however including sports psychology technique may also help the sufferer to recover mentally from an injury and has proven to be extremely beneficial in the recovery and healing process.

The Knee anatomy

The knee is considered to be one of the most complex joints in the body and also one of the largest. The knee itself joins with the thigh bone (femur) and also to the shin bone, or the ‘tibia’. The knee joint is made up of a smaller bone that runs alongside the tibia and the patella (kneecap). The leg muscles that move the knee joint are connected to the knee bones by tendons. Ligaments also join the knee bones which give the knee necessary stability. The knee moves smoothly with help from the numerous bursae (fluid-filled sacs).

Typical Knee Injuries and Recovery Steps

ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) occurs when there is a tear in one of the knee ligaments that joins the upper leg bone with the lower leg bone. This can be really painful and usually occurs during sport or intense exercise. If surgery is necessary after suffering this injury, painful bruising, swelling and redness down the front of the ankle and shin is a common after-symptom and should improve after time. A structured rehabilitation programme is often needed for safe recovery. 2-6 weeks afterwards it is advised to some gentle exercises to help you to strengthen your leg muscles as well as improving your balance.

PCL (Posterior Cruciate Ligament) is a ligament found in the knee. When torn, this injury can be extremely painful despite the ligament being much thicker than the ACL. This type of injury makes up less than 20% of knee injuries. Physiotherapy is often advised to treat a PCL tear. Treatments such as soft tissue massage, bracing, joint mobilization, anti-inflammatory advice, ice or heat treatment, hydrotherapy and a gradual return to regular sport/activity program are just some of the treatments advised to speed up recovery.

Patellar Subluxation is a fractional dislocation. It occurs when the kneecap shifts and is said to feel as though the kneecap is jamming out of place. The patellar can return to the normal position itself however special treatment may be needed in some cases. Physical Therapy is essential for a good recovery to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Other modes of recovery include patellar bracing, proper foot support and proper foot alignment measures etc.
These recovery and treatment options above are of course for the more serious injuries. However, it is important to maintain physical fitness even whilst injured. Training can be modified to suit individual needs such as focusing on upper body strength and nutrition as opposed to cardio if the knee/leg is injured.