Knee injuries in young athletes continues to be on the rise. One of the most common sports injuries, an ACL tear, could end a young athlete’s career aspirations in sports before it even begins. Twist your knee sharply or extend it beyond its normal range during play, and you may hear the telltale “pop.” Whether your child participates in football, soccer, basketball or track, their drive for the game may be setting the stage for a serious injury.
We hosted a live chat with Dr. John Xerogeanes, Chief of Sports Medicine at Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center, on Wednesday, September 28 where he answered questions regarding how to reduce the risk of knee injury, exercises for strengthening the knee, warning signs, what to do following an ACL injury, and the rehabilitation process. Below are some highlights from the live chat, and you can read the full chat transcript here.
Question: What are the signs that I have injured my ACL?
Dr. Xerogeanes: You will usually land from a jump or twist the knee. You will often feel a “pop” in the knee or even hear a pop. Most of the time one will also feel the knee bend in in an abnormal manner.
Question: Is it easier to for an athlete to injure their knee again after they’ve already injured it once?
Dr. Xerogeanes: Yes. if you hurt your ACL and do not have surgery, then your knee will go out again when you play. that can injure your knee further. After reconstruction of the ACL, you can alway reinjure it again. My reinjury rate in the last 1500 ACLs that I have done is around 5.5%.
Question: What is surgery for an acl tear like?
Dr. Xerogeanes: Surgery takes an hour. I like to borrow tissue from the quad tendon (above the knee). I like this because it is the strongest graft tissue with the least amount of collateral damage. It can be done through a 1-2cm scar. We have followed our patients with a pain app the we created and most patients are off pain meds within3-4 days.
Question: Are knee injuries more common in one age group than another? Or in a certain sport?
Dr. Xerogeanes: They are different between sexes. Females increase dramatically at puberty. Males increase in high school but not at drastically as females. We have no idea why, but at this age a female has a 4-5x greater risk of ACL injury than a male.
Read the full chat transcript from this live chat about knee injuries here.