Week number 3 for our top tips is all about the knee, in particular knee sprains! The knee can be a bit more difficult to self-diagnose then an ankle sprain or calf injury but there’s certainly things you can do to help yourself.
Most knee injuries involve twisting injuries with the foot planted on the ground which puts the ligaments in the joint under stress. The most well known of these is your anterior cruciate ligament (or ACL) which plays a big role in a number of different ways. Its very commonly injured in sports such as netball, rugby or football due to the twisting action involved. There are several smaller ligaments in the knee that can also be involved in a sprain of the knee and even the meniscus (cartilage) can play a role. Minor sprains can take a couple of weeks to settle down with larger sprains taking 6-9 months to completely heal. If you hear an audible pop or have immediate swelling around the knee its important you seek some medical advice from one of our Harbourside physio team.
Small amounts of swelling or an ache in the knee after you’ve stopped playing may be indicative of a smaller sprain. As always start with ice for 20 minutes intermittently for 24 hours. Keep joint moving by gently bending or straightening your knee and try to avoid twisting on it.
Once you can weightbear pain free on the knee, moving from sitting to standing without using your hands is a good exercise to start with. You can also try light jogging in a straight line once the pain has settled. Symptoms such as giving way, clicking or locking need a second look, if you aren’t sure, its always better to seek advice from one of our physios than to try and play through the pain.
Those of you who read this every week will realise that sleep is an athletes best friend and that certainly applies when recovering from an injury. If its initially painful to straighten your knee, try placing a pillow underneath the joint to support it, or between both knees if you sleep on your side.
Vitamin A and C are heavily used in tissue healing and therefore food groups high in these such as carrots, kale and spinach are a good way to go.
Knee sprains can be a bit trickier to manage because of the number different structures that could be affected in your knee. Therefore, if you aren’t sure, visit one of our physios on a Wednesday or Friday to work out the best way back for you.
See you on the court!