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Common Knee Sports Injuries

By Michael Lasalandra
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Correspondent

When it comes to sports injuries, shoulders and knees are the parts of the body most likely to be hurt, no matter whether the athletes are school kids, professionals or older weekend warriors.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tear

Knee injuries often involve tears or ruptures to one of four major ligaments that connect the bones in the knee joint. The most common is the ACL or anterior cruciate ligament.

"The injury is most common in basketball, football, soccer and skiing and occurs during a pivoting episode," says  Dr. Arun J. Ramappa, orthopedic surgeon and Chief of  Sports Medicine at BIDMC. "Sometimes, it is due to contact when struck by an opposing player. It doesn't occur as frequently in non-pivoting sports such as running."

Sometimes, an ACL tear is accompanied by a tear in another of the four major knee ligaments, such as the MCL or medial collateral ligament, particularly when the injury is the result of a collision. That is what happened to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady the season before last.

Meniscus Injuries

Injuries to the meniscus, the shock absorbing cartilage in the knee, are also common.

"For people who are athletic, these injuries can be quite debilitating," Ramappa says.

Surgery is usually required to repair such knee injuries. Fortunately, minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques are almost always used and athletes can be back in action in six to nine months in many cases.

"It is usually done in an outpatient setting, under general anesthesia, and the patient goes home the same day," says Ramappa. "Typically, the operation is very successful. Patients usually return to their prior level of activity."

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.

Posted March 2011

Contact Information

Sports Medicine & Shoulder Surgery
Carl J. Shapiro Department of Orthopaedics
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Carl J. Shapiro Clinical Center, 2nd Floor
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
617-66-SPORT (667-7678)