Common Knee Injuries: Meniscus Tears

The knee joint is comprised of many structures, one of which is the C-shaped piece of cartilage known as the meniscus. The meniscus cushions the outer and inner edges of the knee and helps stabilize the knee joint.

Did you know that one of the most common injuries in the knee is a meniscus tear?

That’s because meniscus tears can occur in all types of people, whether they’re young, old, athletic, or not very active at all. Many meniscus tears are caused by the twisting and turning motions during sports. Others can be caused by something as simple as tripping while running uphill or by lifting something heavy. It’s important to note that the meniscus tends to wear down and weaken as we age. That can cause meniscus tears and knee pain as patients approach the later stages in life, even if they are not particularly active.

Since the meniscus is so susceptible to injury, it’s often recommended to wear a knee brace for meniscus tears. They can be helpful whether you play sports, have a previous meniscus injury, or if you’re getting up there in age and would like extra support before physical activity. Most people are not educated about the frequency of meniscus tears, so you’re already one step ahead of the pack!

ACL Reconstruction Surgery: 2 Years Post-Op

Holly B. is an active professional in her late twenties who spends her free time playing recreational flag football and league basketball. She shares her experience with us as she explores the world of sports.

It’s been nearly two years since my ACL surgery and I thought it would be helpful for anyone considering ACL repair or who is currently recovering from ACL surgery to share my progress. Well, what I’ve learned is that ACL recovery varies greatly from person to person. From my own experience and opinion, it depends on two factors: your body and your effort.

Honestly, I haven’t done too much in terms of getting back into sports since my ACL reconstruction surgery. Real life took over – work and parenting – so I didn’t have as much time to devote to recreational sports. Ideally I think I would continue strengthening the muscle area around my knee before returning to sports to help stabilize the joint. I’d also feel more comfortable returning to sports with an ACL knee brace. It would help give me peace of mind that I’m lowering my risk of re-injury and it would provide support to my knee.

Could I start playing basketball and football again? Yes, I think so with some training. Overall I’ve healed up nicely – I’d say that my body rebounded well, but I haven’t put any effort into getting back into physical activity. That’s probably the only thing that slowed my progress.

Here’s some situations from my friends who have had ACL surgery:

  • Man in his early 20s – He put lots of effort into his ACL recovery in order to return to playing sports. He now wears an ACL knee brace and was back to playing sports within his first year. In fact, he started light running again around four months post-op… I’m not sure his doctor would have liked that!
  • Woman around my age in her late 20s – She tore her ACL around the same time I did, and she’s started working out consistently and is fairly active. Her recovery was slower… I think my body rebounded more quickly, but that she put more effort into physical therapy.
  • Woman in her early 40s – I actually met her in my basketball league and knew she had tore it at some point because she was wearing an ACL knee brace. She had some amazing movement at point guard. I wouldn’t have guessed her age based on how she was moving. I found out later it had only been a few years since her tear… and she actually tore hers playing flag football in the same recreational league that I participated in!

So as you can see, ACL tear recovery can have a wide spectrum of results. I think for most people, if you put the effort toward physical therapy and returning to sports, that you’ll be back before you know it! Follow your doctors’ guidelines and you’ll be just fine.

Foot Pain After Sports? It Could Be Plantar Fasciitis

When you think of injuries during sports, people commonly think of conditions such as ankle sprains and ACL tears. However, there’s one type of injury that often affects athletes that is more common than people realize.

Behind closed doors, many athletes suffer from plantar fasciitis. This includes notable athletes such as Kobe Bryant and Pete Sampras.

What is plantar fasciitis?

In your foot, there’s a fibrous piece of tissue known as the plantar fascia that goes between the heel to the toes. When this band of tissue becomes inflamed, it causes pain in the foot. The condition is therefore called plantar fasciitis. It can occur in all types of patients, which is why it’s not known as a “sports injury”.  Since an athlete is naturally more active, he or she may stress the areas around the foot and lead to inflammation.

Here are two forms of pain relief that we recommend at BetterBraces (and you’ll want to check in with your doctor to make sure these forms of treatment are appropriate for your situation):

  • Wear a brace for plantar fasciitis when participating in sports. This can help reduce the stress on the foot and may relieve or prevent pain so you can keep playing.
  • Wear a plantar fasciitis night splint when you sleep. Plantar fasciitis night splints help with pain by keeping the plantar fascia stretched out overnight. (Typically the worst pain from plantar fasciitis occurs in the morning after waking up… night splints can help relieve this pain.)

If you’re experiencing foot pain after sports, you may want to check in with your doctor to see if it could be plantar fasciitis!

Caring for a Sprained Ankle with the Aircast Air Stirrup

If you’ve suffered an ankle sprain, your doctor may recommend the Aircast Air Stirrup Ankle Brace because it’s one of the leading supports for recovery from ankle sprains.  It’s designed to help patients get back to an active lifestyle as quickly as possible.

Check out the video below for some information on how to care for your sprained ankle using the Aircast Air Stirrup (it’s an older video, but still some great tips!) It’s a great watch, even if you’re using another ankle brace or if you don’t have an Aircast Air Stirrup Ankle Brace yet:

Ready to learn more? Click here to shop for an Aircast Air Stirrup Ankle Brace.

Common Marathon Running Knee Injuries

In a recent blog post, we reported about the increased participation in marathon running and how the number of marathon injuries are also increasing as a result. These injuries occur because of the impact that your joints – in particular the knee – absorb during running.

Here are some common marathon knee injuries that may occur from excessive running:

Runner’s Knee (also known as chondromalacia or patellofemoral pain) – This condition describes irritation under the kneecap. The cartilage under the kneecap usually glides smoothly as the joint bends, but if it rubs against one side of the joint during movement, it can cause pain. Repetitive movement, most often associated with running, can increase your risk of runner’s knee – though this condition can be observed in non-runners as well. (Got runner’s knee or want to help prevent it? Check out knee braces for runner’s knee.)

Iliotibial Band Syndrome (also known as ITBS) – The iliotibial band is a long, thick mass of tissue that goes from the hip to the outside of the shin bone. It works with your thigh muscles to stabilize the knee. During repetitive movement, such as from marathon running, the iliotibial band may become irritated. This pain can sideline a runner so it’s best to take measures to prevent ITBS from occurring by having proper footwear. (Got Iliotibial Band Syndrome or want to help prevent it? Check out knee braces for ITBS.)

Patellar Tendonitis (also known as jumper’s knee) – This type of injury is an inflammation of the tendons around the knee joint. Though knee tendonitis is usually a stress injury seen with repetitive jumping, it’s also frequently seen in runners. Marathon runners who are often running on hard pavement are at an increased risk. (Got knee tendonitis or want to help prevent it? Check out the DonJoy Cross Strap, one of the best knee braces to alleviate patellar tendonitis pain and to help prevent occurrence.)

If you’re a marathon runner, take steps to protect your knee joints. Speak with your doctor at the first sign of knee pain to get the appropriate treatment for your injury.