Knee injuries are all too common – particularly at the moment, when running is seeing an all-time popularity surge as people have come to realise the huge boost it can offer to your mental health.
The temptation can often be to ignore a knee injury; if exercise is your release, then you don’t want to risk being told to stop. Some people might choose to push through the pain, or to rest it for a couple of days or weeks in the hope that it sorts itself out.
A cautionary tale
A recent revelation by singer and presenter Olly Murs was that he left his knee operation too long. He is now in a ‘two-year rehab programme’ as a result. It just goes to show the importance of seeking early diagnosis of any knee injury.
A recent study from the Netherlands published in the British Medical Journal showed the effect of delays in treatment. It showed a significant improvement in outcomes for patients who had early surgery on ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries, compared to those who delayed the reconstructive surgery.
And in Mr Punwar’s own experience in treating knee injuries, often associated tears to the meniscus (a piece of cartilage that provides a cushion between the femur and the tibia, acting as a shock absorber for the knee) are worse when there has been a significant delay between injury and treatment.
Inevitably the Covid pandemic has had a knock-on effect on these delays leading to even later presentations. This is something which Mr Punwar and his research team at University Hospital Lewisham are currently studying.
When to visit a knee injury specialist
It can be hard to know what constitutes an actual injury, and what is just some tenderness from overexerting the muscles or a mild knee sprain.
As a general rule, these are the signs that should have you heading to the clinic:
- You can’t put weight on the affected leg
- There is swelling around the knee
- You felt or heard a ‘pop’
- You can’t straighten your knee fully – or, conversely, there is too much movement in the joint
- Your knee keeps buckling (giving way)
If you are experiencing one or more of these signs, get your injury checked out as soon as possible.
Early treatment for knee injury
In fact, there isn’t really a downside to seeking early diagnosis and treatment of a knee injury. The best-case scenario is that no serious injury will be found. If this is the case, some light physio and a bit of rest to the affected knee should have you back up and running in no time.
And in the event that your knee injury is more serious, early diagnosis means early treatment. This also means better and faster results.
Regardless of the gravity of your injury, the sooner you get it assessed and treated, the sooner you can begin to return to your chosen activity.