How Effective is Knee Arthroscopy in Young Athletes?

Every time an athlete competes in a sport, they run the risk of serious injury. Young athletes who are at the beginning of their careers are especially vulnerable because one wrong move could alter the trajectory of their lives. For many young athletes, it’s a risk worth taking because the game is their passion.

Orthopedics aims to correct sports injuries through specialized treatments and surgeries, including knee arthroscopy. Modern minimally invasive orthopedic surgical methods, like arthroscopy, make even debilitating knee injuries far more treatable — increasing the chance of a successful recovery.

What Is Knee Arthroscopy?

Knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that is performed through much smaller incisions than those required for traditional surgery. During knee arthroscopy, orthopedic surgeons use specially designed tools and a tiny camera to locate the injury and repair or remove damaged tissue or cartilage.

Knee arthroscopy is intended to repair athletic injuries such as:

  • A tear in the meniscus or anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
  • Damaged articular cartilage
  • Inflamed joint tissue
  • Fractures and fragments of loose cartilage or bone

Do Young Athletes Need Knee Arthroscopy?

Young athletes tend to gravitate towards surgery after an injury because there is a chance they could regain complete mobility and strength after an effective procedure. Knee injuries are one of the most common injuries among athletes and adolescents who participate in contact sports that involve running, jumping or pivoting (i.e., football, basketball and soccer).

Upon initial consultation, some orthopedic surgeons might suggest nonsurgical treatments such as physical therapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or wearing a knee brace. If an athlete’s condition doesn’t improve, they may recommend knee arthroscopy to get a closer look at the cartilage, tissues and bones inside the knee.

While undergoing a surgical procedure may seem risky for young athletes, they often have no other option if they wish to continue playing their sports. For example, if an athlete skips surgery and plays on a torn ACL, it could result in recurrent episodes of knee instability that can aggravate the injury and keep the player on the bench. Athletes who play low-impact sports such as bicycling and swimming can often continue competing without the surgical reconstruction of a torn ACL.

How Long Does It Take to Recover After Knee Arthroscopy?

Recovery is different for everyone, so it’s not uncommon for one athlete to return six months after knee surgery while another athlete might decide to wait a full year. Studies have shown that the longer an athlete waits to return to their sport, the stronger they become and the less likely they are to reinjure themselves.

In order for young athletes to see results after knee arthroscopy, they should work closely with their orthopedic surgeon to monitor improvement and facilitate proper rehabilitation.

Can Knee Injuries Take a Toll on Young Athletes?

More often than not, young athletes play their sport because they love it. When they can no longer participate because of a knee injury, it can be a devastating loss. Young athletes with serious knee injuries can often experience loneliness and depression when they become distanced from their team or sport.

Physically, athletes and adolescents with a knee injury (like a torn ACL) are more susceptible to developing arthritis within 15 years of the initial injury — no matter their course of treatment. Not only that but the risk of having a second ACL tear is much higher.

Schedule Your Consultation with Centennial Orthopedics and Podiatry in Roseburg

Our team of experienced orthopedic surgeons provides personalized, attentive care to athletes of all ages in Oregon. Centennial Orthopedics and Podiatry utilizes advanced medical treatments and surgical procedures to restore the full range of motion and strength of young athletes who have suffered sports injuries.

If you have recently injured your knee and you are unsure of what comes next, schedule a consultation with us by calling 541-229-2663 or sending us a message.