24 national teams from all over Europe will converge on France for the next four weeks to be crowned 2016 UEFA European Championship winners.

 

Will the home nations follow suit by staying in or out of Europe come June 23rd 2016.

Most footballing injuries are to the soft tissues such as skin, muscles, ligaments and cartilage with the knee being the most common site of injury. A 2013 study of knee injuries in elite professional footballers  (Murray, Kemp, Jain et al, www.boneandjoint.org.uk)  collected data from one English Premier League team over two seasons from 2009-2011. Their findings were as follows:

  • the commonest injury was the Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) at 34%.
  • injury to the patella tendon of the knee amounted to 29% of all injuries.
  • the mean recovery time was 44 days  and 77 days respectively for both injuries.
  • 60% of all injuries were in training.
  • 26% were recurring injuries.
  • recurring injuries took twice as long to recover as the initial injury.

 

image

1. Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Sprain of the Knee

One of the four major ligaments of the knee; the medial collateral ligament (MCL) originates on the medial (inside) aspect of the femur (thigh bone) and inserts on the medial aspect of the tibia (shin bone).

Its function is to stabalise the knee and prevent excessive valgus movement. Two components are usually required to injure a ligament; force and speed. In football an MCL injury is usually due to a direct knock on the ligament or excessive valgus stress, where the lower leg is forced laterally (outwards) at the knee joint, in effect putting the knee into an exaggerated knocked knee position.

Ligament injuries are graded 1-3 with 3 being the most severe and usually meaning a rupture. Unlike the cruciate ligaments of the knee the MCL has a good blood supply and a grade 1 or 2 tear will usually respond well to manual therapy like osteopathy.

 

 

 

2. Patella Tendinopathy

480px-Blausen_0596_KneeAnatomy_FrontThe patella tendon is located at the front of the knee. It connects the patella (Kneecap) to the top of the tibia (shinbone) The quadriceps muscles at the front of the thigh attach to the patella which then runs to the tibia. This is known as the quadriceps mechanism and its function is to extend the knee and to resist passive flexion.

Patella tendinopathy is an overuse injury, from repetitive overloading of the quadriceps mechanism. It is very common in sports that involve a lot of running and jumping and often referred to as “Jumpers Knee”. The symptoms often start as a result of a sudden increase in activity or training. It is thought that often the level of pain felt doesn’t correlate to the amount of tissue damage. Pain is often felt below the kneecap but will often not stop play.  Professional footballers are then often able to train and continuing playing. 

Tendons get their tensile strength from a tissue called collagen and its this collagen that’s the problem. Depending on which research you read it takes between ten weeks and 120 days for the body to lay down new collagen fibres and mature. For a professional footballer on £100k a week this is doesn’t go down well with the club accountants.

Notably sufferers of patella tendonitis are our very own, Alan Shearer and Owen Hargreaves. Both suffered badly enough that they sought advice from the eminent Dr Richard Steadman; the Colorado based orthopaedic surgeon who built his reputation treating the knees of the great and good of the sporting world.

 

According to Sport England just under 2 million people play football at least once a week in the UK,  that’s a lot of knees! If you play football or suffer from a minor sports injury, do consider osteopathy. We train intensively for four years, are highly regulated and understand your body. For appointments or advice call 01342 823722 or email admin@79.170.44.81.