• 5 Things a Knee Cartilage Injury Patient May Encounter During Rehab

    Manchester City v Arsenal - Barclays Premier League

    Wednesday’s breaking news story dealt a huge blow to Arsenal supporters as well as England boss Roy Hodgson. Danny Welbeck has been ruled out of action for nine months following surgery on significant cartilage damage in his right knee.

    Welbeck limped off after just 24 minutes of his 15th Gunners appearance of the season against Manchester City, a particularly cruel chain of events considering he has only recently returned from a 10-month lay-off following surgery on a cartilage injury to his left knee.

    The 25-year-old has scored five goals and set up two more since February. His post-comeback form earned him a place in the starting line-up against Germany in March. Welbeck was widely expected to be named in Hodgson’s Euro 2016 squad, but now we will be lucky to see him back to his best before the end of the year.

    In light of Welbeck’s injury, the PhysioRoom take a look at how knee injuries occur in football and life in general. Here, we’ll provide advice and recommend the essentials, such as knee support, to help you recover. Keep reading!

    Why Do Knee Cartilage Injuries Happen in Sport?

    A knee showing post-surgery(Image Credit: Flickr)

    Knee cartilage damage can be quite common in sports like football. It can be caused when the knee is twisted while the joint is bearing weight. For instance, during a sudden turn, an abrupt halt or a seemingly innocuous tackle.

    The term cartilage damage often refers to a tear to the meniscus. There are two menisci within each knee joint:

    • the medial meniscus on the inner side compartment of the knee
    • the lateral meniscus on the outer side compartment of the knee

    Both menisci are located on the top surface of the shin bone. They stabilise the knee during movement, acting as shock absorbers during weight-bearing activity.

    A small tear produces a flap which interferes with the knee joint but is usually straightforward to remove, completed in a keyhole surgery procedure in which the meniscus surface is smoothed off. However, a larger tear will need to be repaired by sewing it together, a rather more severe injury which requires a longer period of rehabilitation.

    Arsenal have not released any specific details regarding Welbeck’s injury. But speaking after the match, manager Arsene Wenger admitted his fears about the striker’s lateral meniscus. It would certainly have to be a significant tear to keep Welbeck side-lined for so long.

    How to Manage Knee Cartilage Injuries

    Below are the items that individuals like Welbeck may encounter along the road to recovery:

    1. Ice therapy

    Cryotherapy Ankle Cryo Cuff Wrap
    Cryotherapy Ankle Cryo Cuff Wrap

    In the early stages of the injury, as well as following surgery, the knee and the patient must be kept as comfortable as possible. The area is likely to be very painful. And the initial swelling can make it difficult to diagnose the problem swiftly.

    One way to reduce these effects is to apply ice therapy. Cryotherapy products are a better bet than a simple cold pack instant. It can circulate ice-cold water and apply controlled compression for several hours.

    2. Post-surgery knee brace

    After undergoing an operation on the cartilage, patients may require sturdy knee support in the immediate aftermath of the surgery.

    A post-surgery knee brace is specifically designed to provide stability and support. It helps in maintaining proper alignment, reducing strain on the injured area, and protecting the knee from further damage. This type of brace is essential for restricting excessive movement during the initial stages of recovery. It ensures the knee heals properly overall.

    3. Hinged knee brace

    Mueller Hg80 Premium Hinged Knee Brace
    Mueller Hg80 Premium Hinged Knee Brace

    A hinged knee brace support is a more versatile option for knee cartilage injury. It incorporates hinges that allow controlled movement, which can be crucial during rehabilitation. It provides support while enabling a gradual increase in knee flexion and extension.

    This type of brace is useful for individuals transitioning from post-surgery immobilisation to a more active recovery phase. Take the Mueller Hg80 Sports Knee Brace, for instance. It offers a blend of comfort, support, and versatility. Designed to address various knee concerns, it excels in providing relief and stability.

    4. Knee sleeve support

    Compex Anaform 2mm Neoprene Knee Sleeve Support
    Compex Anaform 2mm Neoprene Knee Sleeve Support

    Sleeve-like knee support provides compression and warmth to the knee joint. It is often made of neoprene, such as this Compex knee sleeve.

    While it may not offer the same degree of structural support as braces, it can help with pain management and reduce swelling in the injured area. This type of support is valuable during both the acute and rehabilitation phases of knee cartilage injury.

    5. Rehab exercises

    PhysioRoom Wooden Wobble Board - 40cm
    PhysioRoom Wooden Wobble Board – 40cm

    Rehabilitation exercises are crucial for rebuilding strength and flexibility after cartilage injury. Tools like resistance bands, balance boards, and foam rollers can aid these exercises.

    Resistance bands help with strengthening the surrounding muscles. Balance boards enhance stability. Meanwhile, foam rollers assist in myofascial release to ease muscle tightness and improve range of motion. Incorporating these tools into a guided exercise program can speed up recovery and prevent future injuries.


    The road to recovery from a knee cartilage injury may be challenging. But with the right support and tools, it becomes a manageable journey. Whatever it is for, there are options to suit different stages of recovery.

    By embracing these resources and consulting with healthcare professionals, individuals can look forward to a brighter, pain-free future with restored knee health.

    Explore our great selection of supports & braces, including ankle support for walking and walking braces. Learn more on your next read: What Is a Patella Stabiliser?

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