Knee injuries are an unfortunate but common occurrence in individuals partaking in sports activities. Meniscus tears, in particular, can be debilitating and painful. If you enjoy staying active, it’s crucial to be aware of the activities that pose a higher risk of meniscus tears, how they can lead to such injuries, and how to protect yourself.
In this blog post, we reveal seven activities with the highest risk of meniscus tears and why they are so. We will also share how you can protect yourself and reduce your risk of injury with these sports.
Meniscus tears are common in football, a sport known for its fast-paced nature and sudden changes in direction. The stop-and-start movements, pivoting, and tackling can put immense strain on the knee joint, making it susceptible to injury.
The combination of high-impact movements, such as running, stopping abruptly, and kicking the ball, can lead to twisting and tearing of the meniscus.
Protective measures: Take time to stretch and warm up properly before playing. Wearing supportive knee braces and practising good sliding and tackling techniques can also help.
Basketball is another sport that demands quick changes in direction, jumps, and pivots, making it a prime candidate for meniscus tears. The explosive nature of basketball involves frequent jumping, landing, and abrupt stops, which can result in twisting and tearing of the meniscus.
Protective measures: Targeted exercises to strengthen the muscles around the knee and proper footwear can provide added protection. Moreover, players should maintain good balance and agility to reduce the risk of injury.
Martial arts involve various combat techniques and high-impact movements that can place excessive stress on the knee joint. Kicks, pivots, and takedowns in martial arts can lead to direct trauma or twisting of the knee, potentially causing meniscus tears.
Protective measures: Wear protective gear, including knee pads, to cushion the impact. Additionally, training under the supervision of a qualified instructor who emphasises safe techniques is crucial.
Skiing is a popular winter sport that, while exhilarating, can pose a risk of meniscus injury due to the uneven terrain and fast speeds involved. Sudden falls, collisions, or twisting motions during skiing can lead to meniscus tears.
Protective measures: Proper skiing techniques, using well-maintained equipment, and wearing protective gear can minimise the risk. Adequate conditioning and strengthening exercises for the lower body can also help.
Volleyball may not seem as physically intense as some other sports, but the abrupt movements and jumps involved can lead to knee injuries. Frequent jumping and landing on a hard surface can strain the knee and potentially cause meniscus tears.
Protective measures: Focus on maintaining good landing technique and utilising proper footwear. Knee pads are a valuable protective accessory for volleyball players.
Tennis requires rapid direction changes, sprints, and quick pivots, which heighten the risk of meniscus injuries. The abrupt movements and pivots can also result in excessive strain on the knee joint.
Protective measures: Strengthening the leg muscles, particularly the quadriceps and hamstrings, can provide better support for the knee. Proper footwork and using shoes with excellent support are also essential.
While running is an excellent cardiovascular exercise, it’s not without its risks for meniscus injuries, especially for those who engage in high-impact or long-distance running.
The repetitive impact of running can lead to gradual wear and tear on the meniscus. Sudden falls or missteps can also result in injury.
Protective measures: Invest in well-cushioned running shoes and vary the surfaces you run on to reduce the impact. Incorporating strength and flexibility exercises for the lower body can help maintain knee health.
A meniscus tear must first be diagnosed and its severity assessed accurately. Spire Orthopaedic employs diagnostic tools and imaging techniques, including MRI scans, to determine the extent of the injury.
Once the diagnosis is confirmed, your orthopaedic specialist will discuss the treatment options. In many cases, meniscus tears can be effectively treated without surgery. For more severe meniscus tears or issues where non-surgical treatment hasn’t been effective, surgery may be necessary.
Protecting yourself from injury is not about avoiding the sports you love but rather about participating in them wisely and responsibly to protect your knee health. While a meniscus tear can be a painful and debilitating injury, the proper care and treatment can put you on the track to recovery. If you experience signs of a meniscus tear, seek medical attention immediately.
Spire Orthopaedic specialises in orthopaedic care and has a team of experienced professionals to help you through the entire treatment process. Our orthopaedic surgeons, physical therapists, and other healthcare professionals provide personalised treatment plans, ensuring the best possible outcome.
Book an appointment now.