Soccer is sport where the player is constantly changing directions and stopping suddenly. These types of motions can be very jarring to the knee joint which can result in numerous common knee injuries. The injuries can be minor where ice and physical therapy would help or severe enough to require surgery.
Knee Joint Overview
The knee joint is made up of the patella or kneecap, patellar tendon, cartilage and ligaments. It is the leg joint that allows the leg bones – femur, fibula and tibia – to work together and stay stabilized so you can sit, stand and walk.
Each area of the knee joint is made to take a certain amount of shock and weight. When sports like soccer and daily activities begin to wear and tear at the connective tissues, that is when you will experience pain and discomfort.
An injury can occur suddenly or develop over a period of time. Regardless of how the knee injury occurs, you will need to get proper treatment from a doctor to get you back out on the field.
Common Knee Injuries
The patellar tendon can develop tendinitis from overuse. You will feel pain right below your kneecap whenever you bend your leg. This injury is common and normally requires you to apply ice to the area, get plenty of rest, physical therapy and anti inflammatory medication.
The knee has four ligaments – lateral collateral ligament (LCL), medial collateral ligaments (MCL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Each of these ligaments can be torn partially or fully. Depending on the type of tear, you will either need physical therapy or surgery.
Cartilage is what provides the cushion or padding where the femur and tibia meet. Arthritis and wear and tear from soccer can diminish the cartilage. Once the bones begin to grind together, you will begin to experience pain. Depending on the damage, physical therapy could be all you will need. For severe cases, your doctor could recommend a full or partial knee replacement.
Your kneecap can become dislocated as a result of a collision or fall during a game. You will experience pain and swelling. Doctors will recommend rest, physical therapy and anti inflammatories to help you heal. In some instances where damage was caused to surrounding knee tissue, surgery might be needed to help the stability of your kneecap.