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How do injuries to the cruciate ligaments affect the athlete?

Medical Consultant

Post: 2007-03-08

Two minutes had barely gone by in the first soccer match at the 2006 World Cup in Germany when Michael Owen, a forward for England, fell to the ground in pain after making a backward pass. The England's team doctor made the diagnosis that broke the hearts of fans all across England: "Owen should immediately stop playing and even miss the World Cup in Germany." According to reports, Owen had a ligament tear of the knee. The ligaments of the knee, especially the cruciate ligaments, have an important role in the stability of the joint, and may sometimes decide whether or not a player can continue to compete. The cruciate ligaments can adjust the knee joints for subtle changes in fast or slow movement, providing dynamic and static stability in the process of movement. After the cruciate ligaments are injured it causes the inability to slow down or make sudden turns when running, and even weakness and soreness of the legs. As far as athletes are concerned, if they wish to maintain normal knee function and return to competition, surgical treatment on the cruciate ligaments is absolutely necessary. Normally, after surgery for cruciate ligament injury there is swelling, pain, and joint instability, and it requires six to nine months to have full ligament growth recovery and to return to normal daily activities. Since they have to maintain excellent muscle strength, flexibility, and balance, athletes need more time to recover before they can get back into competitive form. In the recovery process, specialized knee support and athletic taping play a key role, as it can help joint stability, extend the athletes’ careers, and prevent injured body parts from further injuries.