Q. I was playing basketball last night in a high school game when I was tripped, landing on my left knee. It hurt and it swelled some, and I was unable to keep playing. It does not just hurt on the front of the knee where I landed, but it also hurts on the inside and back part of the knee. I went to the emergency room for X-rays and they said nothing was broken. It still hurts, and I wondered when I could play basketball again?
A.I recommend you see an orthopedic surgeon for evaluation of your left knee. While it is most likely that you just sustained a contusion or “bruise,’’ it is possible that you may have disrupted one of the ligaments in the knee. The soreness on the inside part of the knee may be related to an injury to the MCL, which is important in side-to-side movement. MCL sprains usually can heal depending on the severity of the injury with rest, bracing or rehabilitation.
However, MCL injuries usually do not lead to the swelling of the knee joint and it is possible that either a bone bruise or an injury to the ACL or PCL could have occurred. Injuries to the ACL are more common and this ligament does not have a good blood supply. When injured, it usually requires a brief period of rehabilitation followed by reconstructive surgery in the athlete. Bone bruises can result in swelling and usually will heal with a period of rest. Since the X-rays were negative, in addition to the physical exam, the physician will likely order an MRI scan, which will be extremely helpful in determining the extent of your injury.
Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send your questions to HarlanS@baptisthealth.net