Intercepting Football Injuries With MIS
Loved by many, football is a sport that is both entertaining and risky. The sport has the highest injury rates among youths, with similarly high rates at the professional level. Football injuries can range from minor sprains and strains to more serious fractures and ligament tears. Such damage can be painful and potentially career-threatening, but treatment is available. Advancements in minimally invasive surgery (MIS) have provided athletes with a faster path to recovery. Athletes with these 3 football injuries can benefit from minimally invasive surgery and return to the game faster.
1. A medial collateral ligament sprain
Providing stability and support, the medial collateral ligament (MCL) is a key ligament on the inner side of the knee. Injuries to the MCL are common in contact sports like football. A sudden twisting or impact can cause the ligament to stretch or tear. The good news is that many MCL injuries can be treated without surgery. A majority of MCL injuries heal naturally with proper rest, rehabilitation, and the use of supportive braces. However, more severe tears can benefit from MIS to repair the damage.
2. A torn meniscus
Another common occurrence in football is a meniscus tear. The meniscus is a piece of cartilage in the knee that acts as a shock absorber between the thigh and shin bones. Meniscus tears can occur due to sudden twisting, pivoting, or direct impact to the knee. Treatment options for this kind of injury depend on the severity and location of the tear. For minor tears or those located on the outer edge of the meniscus where there is good blood supply, conservative treatment such as rest, physical therapy (PT), and supportive braces may be sufficient. However, minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery may be recommended in cases where the tear is severe or in an area with poor blood supply.
3. ACL tears
An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear is a serious and potentially career-threatening injury in football. The ACL is a major stabilizing ligament in the knee that helps prevent excessive forward movement of the shin bone. An ACL tear can occur due to sudden changes in direction, pivoting, or direct impact to the knee. Given the severity and implications of an ACL tear, early surgical intervention is often considered the gold standard treatment for professional football players and active individuals.
Is minimally invasive surgery the key?
In treating these 3 common injuries, MIS has emerged as a widely used and effective treatment option. Arthroscopic surgery, in particular, is a commonly employed minimally invasive surgical technique for treating knee ligament injuries in athletes. Arthroscopy offers numerous benefits compared to traditional open surgery, including smaller incisions, reduced risk of complications, shorter recovery time, and less post-operative pain. Athletes who undergo arthroscopic surgery for knee ligament injuries, such as MCL, ACL tears, and meniscus tears, can usually return to the field within a few weeks. With MIS, a sports injury doesn’t have to mean the game is over.