Weekend sports players urged to act on knee pain

While many of the top sports people are surrounded by medical expertise addressing and identifying injuries, Jamie Arbuthnot, consultant orthopaedic knee and sports surgeon for Spire Parkway Hospital, Solihull, believes people who play rugby at the weekends could be failing to spot injuries and continuing to play - an approach that could be storing up problems for the future. 

“Some injuries show themselves immediately and require treatment straight after an impact or fall,” said Jamie Arbuthnot. “However, others might be less obvious and only show as niggling pains that come and go - it is these twinges that any sports player, professional or amateur, must treat with as much importance as the major injuries to ensure correct diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation to get the best outcome.”

Injuries such as tears to the meniscal cartilage might not lead to considerable pain, and may often give symptoms that are intermittent, but they can signify injuries to other areas of the knee currently being overlooked or could be leaving the individual open to an increased potential for arthritis.

The meniscus is a ‘C’ shaped piece of cartilage that sits on the inner and outer part of the knee.  Its role is to help distribute body weight loading in the knee and to stabilise the joint during bending and twisting.  

Sudden changes in direction, twisting and the potential to be playing rugby on an unstable footing, could lead to tears in the meniscal cartilage, requiring physiotherapy and/or surgery.

Jamie Arbuthnot says: “Assessment and treatment for cartilage tears is quick and, providing no other issues are found, requires a short period of recovery time. When a scan - usually an MRI scan - identifies damage or a tear, a minimally invasive surgical procedure called an arthroscopy is carried out. This involves two or three small incisions around the knee with the surgeon passing a camera and surgical tools through the incisions to repair or remove the damaged cartilage.”

Once the cartilage is repaired, a period of physiotherapy will be required. Return to sport will vary as each person heals at a different rate, it could take 3 weeks, it could take 12 or more, several factors will influence your recovery time, but your surgeon and physiotherapist will be able to advise you in your follow  up appointments.

“A failure to address this type of injury means the cartilage is no longer able  to perform its role of protecting the  joint from increased contact pressures.  Left untreated, an individual could be causing more damage to what could  be a healthy knee.”

Patients can access quick assessments through Spire Parkway Hospital. Mr Arbuthnot, who has regular clinics on a Wednesday and Thursday, is able to discuss, assess and advise patients and where appropriate move them forward to treatment sooner rather than later.

All aspects of care are discussed and  you are supported throughout your treatment journey. We have a number of expert consultants with flexible appointment times for you to choose  from. At Spire Parkway we offer fixed prices that cover everything for as long as you need to stay in hospital; quality healthcare at affordable prices from your local Spire hospital.

For further information speak to one of our patient advisors on  0121 704 5530 or email info@spireparkway.com

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