SPORTS INJURIES CAUSING/PREDISPOSING TO EARLY ARTHRITIS
It is well recognised that certain sporting injuries can predispose patients to early arthritic conditions. For example, an anterior cruciate ligament injury in an active patient, if not adequately treated can result in tearing of the soft tissue cartilage (which acts as a shock absorber to the knee) thus resulting in increased contact stresses to the hard cartilage thereby resulting in early arthritis. Similarly damage to the hip labrum from a sporting injury can be misdiagnosed as a groin sprain and predispose a patient to further injury to the so called chondrolabral junction and potentially predispose a patient to early hip arthritis.
I have a particular interest in these injuries and have clinical and research data assessing the early arthritic process, with the aim of improving the way we treat patients, whether or not with non surgical or surgical means. It is important that research is made relevant to Orthopaedic Surgeons, and it is hoped that careful longitudinal clinical and research data will guide and further improve our selection of patients for physiotherapy, exercises or minimally invasive surgical techniques.
THE IMPORTANCE OF KEEPING FIT
Having said that, it is my experience that physically active and fit patients do better and recover better from sporting injuries and appear to have less symptoms from early or even moderately advanced hip and knee arthritis.
Regular exercise enhances muscle and joint function, keeps bones strong and decreases your risk of heart attack and stroke. Here are some tips from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons that can help you exercise safely.
TIPS FOR EXERCISE
Always take time to warm up and stretch before physical activity. Research studies have shown that cold muscles are more prone to injury. Warm up with stationary cycling or running or walking in place for 3 to 5 minutes. Then slowly and gently stretch, holding each stretch for 30 seconds.
Don’t succumb to the “weekend warrior” syndrome. Compressing your physical activity into two days sets you up for trouble and doesn’t increase your fitness level. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. If you’re truly pressed for time, you can break it up into 10 minute chunks.
Take lessons and invest in good equipment. Whether you’re a beginner or have been playing a sport for a long time, lessons are a worthwhile investment. Proper form and instruction reduce the chance of developing an “overuse” injury like tendinitis or stress fractures. Select the proper shoes for your sport and use them only for that sport.
Listen to your body. As you age, you may find that you are not as flexible as you once were or that you cannot tolerate the same types of activities that you did years ago. While no one is happy about getting older, you will be able to prevent injury by modifying your activity to accommodate your body’s needs.
Use the 10 percent rule. When changing your activity level, increase it in increments of no more than 10 percent per week. If you normally walk 2 miles a day and want to increase your fitness level, don’t try to suddenly walk 4 miles. Slowly build up to more miles each week until you reach your higher goal. Also use the 10 percent rule as your guide for strength training and increase your weights gradually.
Add activities and new exercises cautiously. No matter if you’ve been sedentary or are in good physical shape, don’t try to take on too many activities at one time.
If you have or have had a sports or orthopaedic injury like tendinitis, arthritis or stress fracture we can help advise and design a fitness routine to minimise the chance of injury.
MBChB, MSc, FRCSGlasg (Tr & Orth)
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
Specialist in Hip and Knee Surgery
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email us at email@example.com