Sports Injuries Questions

I have a knee injury, is it possible I may need surgery?

Most knee injuries following sports do not require surgery. Simple sprains of the ligament and minor muscle tears will heal within the first four to six weeks following the initial injury. It is always good to keep the joint moving during this time and follow the RICE regime. This involves:


Take a break for a day or two to let the injury rest and recover.


Apply an icepack or a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel to the injured area for 15-20 minutes every few hours.


Between ice treatments an elasticated bandage can sometimes help.


Try to elevate the limb as much as possible.

When should I worry about a knee injury?

Failure to resolve after four to six weeks

The knee locking or giving way

A mechanical block to the knee, straightening from a bent position is a worrying sign following knee injuries and should always be followed up with a medical assessment.

Swelling that is either immediate following the injury or that does not settle. Swelling following an injury of the knee is usually caused by fluid production within the knee. If it is persistent it can signify significant injury within the knee. In addition, if the swelling is immediate following the injury it can signify the presence of an anterior cruciate ligament rupture. Both of these should be followed up by a medical assessment.

I have pain from the outside of the knee that prevents me running long distance. Could it relate to my running?

Occasionally runners do develop iliotibial band irritation around the lateral aspect of the knee. This can relate on occasions to the types of footwear that you use during running and it is always worthwhile getting an assessment of your running pattern if this is a persistent problem for you.

What sorts of tests may be required to evaluate my knee pain?

It is always going to be down to the treating physician to decide which is the best form of investigation for your knee pain. The commonest investigation is the magnetic resonance imaging scan of the knee. This is an invaluable tool for surgeons in deciding whether there is a structural problem in the knee that may be accounting for persistent problems.

If I do require surgery, how is this carried out?

Most surgery of the knee is carried out by keyhole surgery (arthroscopy of the knee). This requires usually a general anaesthetic although can be carried out under local anaesthetic. Most of the sports injuries can be treated in this way that improves rehabilitation to the knee and requires as little as seven to 10 days off work for most patients.