Dr. Pietro Tonino, chief, sports medicine division, Loyola University Health System, Maywood, Ill has noted that during the excitement of March Madness, the explosion of the NCAA Tournament on the television screens turns even the most avid couch potato into a basketball freak, but it is important to prevent injuring oneself even as you enjoy the slam dunk.
"Knee injuries can be especially painful and require months of rehabilitation, so it's best to prevent them in the first place," said Tonino, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery, department of orthopedic surgery and rehabilitation, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, Ill. "Teens, weekend warriors and couch potatoes especially need proper training and conditioning to avoid basketball injuries. Although even experienced players can sustain a basketball injury, newcomers to the game particularly are at risk. Many injuries can be prevented by being physically fit and knowing and playing by the rules of the game." Tonino said that one of the most common injuries is a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which joins the "shinbone lower leg) with the back of the thighbone (upper leg)." 70 percent of ACL injuries and non-contact and only 30 percent involve collision. "The ACL helps a person bend their knee, squat and jump," said Tonino. "The ACL can be sprained or ruptured in sports where the athlete jumps, lands, twists, pivots or suddenly stops. Such sports include basketball, running, soccer, football, volleyball and skiing." He added that jumping with knees locked together was another way the ACL tear could occur, "Preventing ACL tears is worth the time required for training and exercise," said Tonino. "An ACL injury can be surgically repaired, but recovery and rehabilitation takes the athlete out of the game for months."
For more information, visit http://www.luhs.org. To make an appointment with Tonino, call 708-327-1000.