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Argentine Goalkeeper’s World Cup Dream Shattered by Loose Knee Cartilage

World CupPain management and rehabilitation services are vital services for athletes weaving their dreams around the FIFA World Cup, since football injuries can topple their ambitions suddenly. Just ask Brazilian legend Neymar, whose broken foot bone threatened to withhold him from the World Cup. Timely surgery intervened along with rehabilitation, physical therapy and pain management, though it’s tragic that his overall performance didn’t quite live up to expectations. However, an ESPN report noted that “there’s enough around Neymar that Brazil can wait for him to reach his best”.

Participating in the FIFA World Cup is dream come true for every player in spite of the pressure it brings, especially when you’re playing for one of the top teams that are expected to go all the way to the finals. But the biggest challenge the player has to face is himself, his mind and body. Mentally, the pressure shouldn’t get to him to the extent that he forgets to stay calm and do what’s needed on the pitch. Physically, the player needs to load himself with strength and stamina to last the 90 minutes in full vigor. But no matter how much you prepare physically, the threat of injury always lingers.

And when the injury happens before the World Cup even starts, it can be hugely disappointing since you know you’ve done everything you can to prepare for it, the goal is in sight, but you just aren’t able to get there due to situations beyond your control.

Argentina suffered a blow when goalkeeper Sergio Romero was ruled out of the World Cup with a knee injury. He is working to get back to the national squad even though his dream of taking part in the 2018 World Cup is over as a result of an injury that he says wasn’t serious enough for him to be ruled out. So what exactly was the injury? It was loose cartilage in his right knee. The AFA (Argentine Football Association) reported it as blockage in the right knee requiring surgical evaluation. Romero’s wife has been reported by The Sun as saying that there is nothing broken but loose cartilage. Diagnosis comes with X-ray, MRI scan and CT scan.

Loose cartilage, or loose bodies, refers to broken cartilage fragments that float around in the synovium, or knee joint fluid. They can hamper the movement of the joint particularly during the movements involving extension and flexion. They should be removed, since these fragments damage the articular cartilage and cause osteoarthritis. Cartilage fragmentation happens when the cartilage gets injured, which can easily happen while playing sports or training. These loose bodies could range from the size of a pill to that of a quarter.

While the surgical options are the commonly suggested procedures such as arthroscopy and open arthrotomy, there are non-surgical options that can temporarily restore the flexibility of the knee joint. Physical therapy is particularly useful here. Physical therapy modalities used in experienced pain management centers in New York include:

  • Massage and Myofascial Release
  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
  • Ice or heat to eliminate muscle spasm and inflammation
  • Ultrasound to treat soft tissue injuries
  • Traction
  • Rehabilitation

These non-surgical knee pain treatment procedures are aimed at controlling the symptoms of knee locking or movement in the knee. They help get the athlete back to the pitch as soon as possible. Anti-inflammatory drugs are also administered to keep inflation in check.

These healthcare centers have a sports medicine team consisting of experienced pain management specialists, orthopedic specialists, chiropractors, physical therapists, neurologists and others who can provide the right treatment and rehabilitation for athletes with injuries such as these.

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