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Knee joint injuries.

knee joint injuries

Knee joints and injuries. Which are the most frequent?

Knee joint injuries are perhaps the most common injuries in athletes, mainly affecting footballers, cyclists, tennis, paddle tennis, volleyball or basketball players, among others. In other modalities, such as running, the most common manifestations are tendon injuries, ligament injuries and fractures. Injury prevention depends primarily on optimal physical condition and proper training. Although there is no doubt that many of these injuries will inevitably require surgical treatment, it is possible to prevent their appearance or more damaging consequences through optimal physical condition and adequate training.

What are the most common knee injuries?

Chondromalacia patella.

Talking about knee injuries forces us to talk about joints. We know in a broad and generalized way the term “chondromalacia patella” which means in exclusively morphological terms “softening of the articular cartilage of the patella”. This alteration or chondropathy is more common than expected as well as asymptomatic and affects several elements that are present in the joint.

Although it is necessary to clarify that its incidence is higher in advanced ages and not so much in youth, it is common in athletes with a very intense physical activity as long as there are conditions of footprint and biomechanics inadequate. In any case, we must not forget that cartilage wear is a natural process that occurs with the passing of the years and the ageing of the body’s tissues.

The origin of chondromalacia is thought to be biochemical, due to a decrease in biomolecules called sulphated mucopolysaccharides (or glycosaminoglycans), present in the tissues that accompany the joint (extracellular matrix and synovial fluid) and whose function is to protect it by providing sufficient cushioning thanks to the viscous nature of these ingredients. In this area, if the patella is compromised by being subjected to mechanical traction, the softened cartilage is insufficient to support it, it becomes unstructured and degenerates, resulting in fraying of the cartilage fibres. This causes a very characteristic joint pain.

Iliotibial band syndrome or runner’s knee.

Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) is an inflammatory, non-traumatic injury caused by overuse of the knee. It is characterized by pain in the lateral part of the knee, sometimes accompanied by a clicking sensation.

It is considered to be one of the most common causes of lateral knee pain with an incidence of around 12% of overuse injuries reported in runners. It also affects other sports such as cycling, football, basketball and hockey.
Although there are several hypotheses that are considered in relation to the casuistry of this syndrome, there are many authors who point to biomechanical problems, such as the angle of flexion of the knee (at 30o increases friction), some weakness in the abductors of the hip, inadequate state of footwear and, again, the type of tread, among others.

For this syndrome, regardless of the causative condition, most patients experience complete resolution of symptoms following only non-surgical management modalities, however surgical management is a potential option for chronic, recurrent or recalcitrant cases.

Clinical management and treatment of both pathologies.

From a conservative point of view, in either case, chondromalacia patella and iliotibial band syndrome, their clinical manifestations may remit or improve with an adequate routine of therapeutic exercises and biomechanical performance, as well as an improvement in the planning of training load, reducing the number of hours if appropriate. We must not forget that, although not primarily, the quality of sleep and proper nutrition also contribute greatly to the prevention of these pathologies.

It is also worth mentioning the benefit of topical application or ingestion of certain constituent ingredients of joint cartilage for structural and regenerative purposes.

In the next post we will make a review of the main ingredients that can contribute, in a qualitative way, to the improvement of the state of our joints and thus, to a better performance of them.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

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