Sports injuries, unfortunately, occur very frequently. There is never a good time for the young adults of Brampton to have sports injuries, but doesn’t it seem like they always happen at the worst possible time? During that great break out season or on that very important track meet—it’s the risk of competing and can happen to anyone.
ACL and MCL problems are two of the most common sports injuries, and whether your son or daughter just signed up for sports or is currently dealing with an injury, as a parent it is important to understand a little about these injuries. Read ahead so you can stay informed.
ACL and MCL 101
The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and the MCL (medial collateral ligament) are crucial to the proper functioning of the knee. In particular they provide limits to the extent of movement your knee is allowed to make. These ligaments stabilize the knee and ultimately prevent over rotation. A common Brampton sports injury is the over extension of these ligaments, causing tearing, usually preceded by several unnoticed smaller tears weakening the ligaments.
How do injuries occur?
Many athletes of all ages will injure their ACL and MCL this year. Sports are an ideal environment to first weaken, and then eventually tear, these ligaments. The reason for this is pretty simple. Most sports provide some level of strain on the knees. Whether it is jumping, frequent running and abrupt stopping, or forms of contact, the ligaments in the knee are pushed to support the rest of the knee. Further, many sports involve some form of contact with other people, or due to unusual body movements, can cause a participant to fall in an unusual way.
The most obvious example is football. Even without full contact, players are abruptly running and stopping, tripping over one another, and occasionally falling. Soccer comes to mind as well: two players attempting to move the ball might accidently fall or trip one another. In either of these examples, a clean fall will yield no significant injuries. However, if the knee is put in a strenuous position during a fall or while going from running speed to an abrupt halt, often the ACL or the MCL can be affected.
In many cases a series of these events will weaken the knee. In this case, small tears have occurred, the pain seems to have subsided, and the player continues to fight on. The slow deterioration of these ligaments eventually results in injury.
In more extreme examples, an athlete might immediately injure their ACL or MCL due to putting excessive weight on the knee at an odd angle, causing an immediate break. This is often accompanied by a popping noise, sharp pains, and difficulty supporting weight. A limited range of motion will immediately set in along with significant swelling.
No matter what the knee injury is, or whether the athlete seems to have walked the pain off, a physician should immediately inspect the knee. This will allow for proper diagnosis and a plan for treatment of the injury. Hopefully this won’t happen to the budding athlete in your family, but in case it does, seek medical help immediately.