When can I play again?

The recent high profile injuries to players preparing for the Rugby World Cup highlights the vexed question of when can I play after an injury. Rupture of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament remains a significant knee injury but with modern techniques of surgery and rehabilitation there should be a high expectation that players can return to the field of dreams.

Return to sports after injury

Whilst there are plenty of tests and measurements that can be made to ensure that muscle strength is recovered and movement of the joint is back to normal, there is as yet no specific test that says you are safe to return to playing matches. By and large, athletes will be performing at a very high level from around four months onwards following ACL reconstruction but whilst everyone wants a specific date, the answer as to when you are ready to play is when you are ready!

Experienced physiotherapists will have the best idea as to when the player is performing without any obvious inhibition from their knee, but one of the things I tell all of my patients is that they have to be honest with themselves and to be at a point where they no longer think about their knee when they are training and performing in match type situations. To my mind this is the body’s intuitive signal that the risk of re-injury has returned to the lowest possible level.

Get in touch to book a consultation at either Mr Jonathan Webb’s Bristol or London clinics.

Is running really bad for you?

There is a bit of a myth about whether running is bad for you.

If your joint is healthy and has never had an injury before then, provided you are fit and strong enough, running is good for you. All joints work better when they are being used. The shock absorbing lining of the joint receives nutrients as a consequence of the compression and relaxation effect of any weight-bearing activity.

Running and the knee

If your knee joint has had an injury however, then you just need to be a little more careful. It would appear that the type and volume of impact work that you do following any injury to a knee such as damage to your meniscus or to the lining of the joint can have an adverse impact. Having said that, there is a world of difference between running in properly fitted shoes on a treadmill for ten minutes at a time, right through to the opposite extreme when you play eighty minutes of football or rugby on a hard pitch. There is no question the latter is far more stressful for your joints than the former.

In other words, subject to the support of your treating physiotherapist or orthopaedic knee surgeon, running can still be helpful at keeping your muscles strong and your weight controlled. Both of these effects may far outweigh any potential for aggravating your injury.

An injury doesn’t always mean the end of your running career! If you have suffered a knee injury that is impacting on your ability to exercise or play sport, then book a consultation at Mr Jonathan Webb’s Bristol or London clinics.

Intimate at The Ivy

Jonathan was invited to take part in a series of informal interviews at The Ivy Club, Soho, by Dr Harry Brunjes. The evening raised over £640 for The Injured Players Foundation, and it was great to see so many familiar faces, as well as meeting people interested in finding out more about Jonathan’s career.

Jonathan played for England in 33 test matches, scoring a total of 296 points before he called it a day in 1993 to pursue his surgical career. On the evening he offered plenty of insights and anecdotes into the struggles of balancing two full-time careers and the audience enjoyed asking questions and seeking his opinion on the modern game.

We hope to be invited back!

Fortius International Sports Injury Conference

Jonathan is a founding member of the Fortius Clinic, an orthopaedic and sports injury clinic in central London. This October Fortius are holding the Fortius International Sports Injury Conference (FISIC), at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster, at which Jonathan will be speaking.

The conference is aimed at orthopaedic surgeons, physios and sports and exercise medicine professionals. Running alongside the main conference is an allied GP programme, for general practitioners whose practice is not sports injury focused but who see recreational sportsmen and women.

FISIC will cover all aspects of sports injury over the two days, with knee, foot & ankle, shoulder, elbow, hand & wrist, spine, hip & groin sessions, as well as sessions on arthritis in sports, cell therapies, bone health, disability sports, rugby sessions and a session on the adolescent athlete.

If you would like to find out more please visit the website – www.fisic.co.uk – or call the marketing team at Fortius on 0203 195 2434.

The silk solution to knee replacement surgery

An ageing population, rising levels of obesity and more desk-bound jobs are behind the ever-growing rise in knee replacement surgery in the UK. It is estimated that more than 90,000 British men and women a year require knee replacement surgery to combat arthritis and joint pain.

Part of this growth has been the rise in knee replacement surgery required by a younger age group, with patients in their 50s and younger potentially needing this procedure. Up till now, research into the longevity of knee replacements has mainly been conducted in patients in their 70s and 80s and best estimates are that the implants will last approximately 15 years. As a result, technology companies are looking into ways to avoid the need for knee replacement surgery.

Orthox, an Oxford University-backed company, has recently developed implants made of silkworm fibroin. Twenty-five times stronger than high tensile steel, the fibroin is spun into tough, resilient implants that feel and act like cartilage when inserted into the knee joint.

Do I need knee replacement surgery?

Osteoarthritis is a condition affecting the joints; the surface of the joints become damaged, cartilage thins and causes discomfort and decreased mobility. This is often just the result of wear and tear which is why osteoarthritis is such a problem for the senior age group, but younger patients – in their twenties and thirties – that have incurred a sporting injury often see the early onset of osteoarthritis.

The silkworm cartilage implants are not available yet, but trials are due to start at the North Bristol NHS Trust with the hope that these implants could eventually reduce the amount of knee replacement procedures undertaken and, in particular, help younger patients rebuild their cartilage, avoiding the development of osteoarthritis and the need for a replacement knee at a later stage in life.

Mr Jonathan Webb is a leading UK consultant orthopaedic surgeon who specialises in all conditions relating to the knee, with a particular interest in soft tissue injury.

Mr Webb does not currently offer this silkworm technology – call us on 0203 195 2443 to discuss which treatment options Mr Webb offers or to arrange a consultation. Alternatively, please click this link to fill in a contact form and one of the team will be in touch.