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Training & advice

Simon Moyes - Look after your knees!

Leading orthopaedic surgeon Simon Moyes offers his expert medical advice to road runners and explains how to prevent, diagnose and treat knee injuries.

Road  running is a simple and cost effective way of building up fitness levels.

Nevertheless, road running has its perils, as with most forms of physical activity, and so it's imperative that you are aware of when your knees are suffering from wear and tear.

Cartilage damage is a common condition, which can result from a bad fall, a traumatic sport-accident, previous knee injuries or general wear and tear.

The most common symptoms of cartilage damage include swelling and pain. Typically, cartilage damage from road running is confined to the knees. In very rare cases, bleeding can occur inside the knee joint.

If the damage is severe, pieces of the cartilage can break off or become loose, causing pain, clicking and locking of the joint.

Tearing or damaging your cartilage is painful because of mechanical symptoms and inflammation. You should know if you have suffered such an injury because in addition to pain and swelling, you may experience locking or instability which make general activities much more difficult.

Initially, you can administer basic treatments to decrease swelling and ease the pain in your joints. Applying ice and immobilising the joint will provide initial relief. However, you should seek medical attention from your GP or speak to a physician should your condition rapidly deteriorate.

Your surgeon will be able to assess the condition from your history and a physical examination. However, X-rays may be taken in order to rule out severe pathology and an MRI scan will almost certainly be required.

This may be followed by Arthroscopic surgery, a minimally invasive surgical procedure aimed at removing torn cartilage and smoothing surfaces to prevent or delay further progression of the problem.

The procedure might involve trimming or removing meniscus cartilage, shaving the surface of the articular cartilage, or trimming or removing thickened synovium.

Your ability to return to normal activity will depend on how much discomfort and swelling you experience after the surgical procedure. The recovery time for basic cartilage surgery is usually 6 weeks.

If you have a question about arthroscopy/keyhole surgery please leave a comment in the box below or email, call 0207 323 0040 or visit