The most common body parts to injure in sports are the ankle, knee, thigh/hip, lower back and shoulder. Knees however differ in a big way – cost. Knee injuries cost ACC upwards of $94 million per year on the 65,000 knee injuries sustained during sport. Further to this, knee injuries often lead to ongoing issues which can cost the individual and healthcare system even more down the track.
The main reason why knee injuries seem to cost more than other body parts is due to the often severe nature of the injuries and costs involving diagnostics and treatment. It is not uncommon for high-tech imaging to be required for injuries to the shock absorbers of the knee (menisci) and ligaments, primarily the ACL. These injuries can often require surgery which can put people out of work or sport for some time. Unfortunately the future of a knee injury that requires surgery is not a bright one. Upwards of 80% of people who have underwent arthroscopic surgery go on to develop osteoarthritis and require a knee joint replacement. This is partly down to the significant lack of strength they are left with following both the injury and subsequent surgery.
Given that knees are a joint you definitely don’t want to injure. Here are a couple of tips to avoid becoming one of the statistics.
1. Good movement trumps everything. The ability to control a single leg squat with good alignment is hugely preventative for knee joint injuries.
2. Strength, strength, strength. The stronger you are from the waist down, the more likely you are to move accurately, and reduce the risk of injury.
3. Don’t push through pain. Knee joint pain has an inhibitory effect on the surrounding muscles. This can lead to instability and cause further damage to the joint.
So if you are wanting to prevent future injury or rehabilitate from a recent knee injury then start following the advice above or get in touch with one of the Kinetics Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation team.