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I’m devoted to sports. Can I prevent knee injuries?

“Training, conditioning and heeding your body’s limits may help prevent general soreness and injury. Always warm up before doing any kind of physical activity. Wear shoes that fit properly, especially when running. Avoid sudden changes in the intensity of activity,” says Anup Shah, M.D., an Orthopedic Surgeon and Sports Medicine specialist at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.

Dr. Shah also recommends that you strengthen your hamstring and quadriceps through weights to help protect the leg against knee injuries.

Dr. Shah says that when people talk about torn knee cartilage, they are usually referring to a torn meniscus.

“The meniscus is a tough, rubbery cartilage that is located between the femur and tibia (thigh and leg bones). It acts like a shock absorber,” he explains. “The meniscus is an important structure that protects the cartilage on the ends of the bones decreasing the incidence of arthritis.”

“Because they can be painful and debilitating, ligament injuries in the knee are dreaded by both professional and amateur athletes,” says Dr. Shah, who cares for patients at Kelsey-Seybold’s Main Campus, Fort Bend Medical and Diagnostic Center and Spring Medical and Diagnostic Center.

“Of the four major ligaments found in the knee, the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) are often injured in sports. In athletic activities, the tears can occur with twisting, cutting or pivoting maneuvers. Though uncommon, the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) or lateral collateral ligament (LCL) can be injured, as well,” Dr. Shah says.

Orthopedic surgeons use a variety of methods to treat knee injuries in athletes. The most important advice is to see your physician as soon as possible, especially if you:

  • Hear a popping noise and feel your knee give way at the time of injury
  • Have severe pain
  • Cannot move the knee
  • Begin limping
  • Have swelling at the injury site
  • Specific treatment for a knee ligament injury will be determined by your physician based on your age, overall health, and medical history; the extent of injury; and other factors.