Sports Star's Knee Injury Highlights Debilitating Nature Of Ligament Damage

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The Law Of... being sidelined by knee problems

With high-profile football star Cristiano Ronaldo working to recover from a knee injury during pre-season, Melanie Burden – Head of General Personal Injury – discusses how debilitating a knee injury can be to victims.

The Law Of... being sidelined by knee problems

Cristiano Culled During Euro 2016 Final

The images of a heartbroken Cristiano Ronaldo reduced to tears after he was forced to leave the field after a crunching tackle from France's Dimitri Payet struck a chord with football fans, who widely empathised with the Portuguese mercurial man's desire to continue to play through the pain barrier.

Despite attempting to continue, Ronaldo's involvement in the Euro 2016 final was soon cut short and he has since spent pre-season resting to try and recover for the opening game of the La Liga season.

Even though Ronaldo received immediate and urgent treatment from the Portuguese medical team the pain and discomfort caused by the knee injury was clear to see, as the player was reduced to a slow amble after Payet's challenge.

With the most likely diagnosis of Ronaldo's injury focussing on a sprain to the Medical Collateral Ligament (MCL), it could be likely that the two time Ballon d'Or winner remains out of action for many months, thus highlighting the serious nature of knee injuries.

Despite this, due to Ronaldo being in peak physical fitness when the injury took place, and considering the fact that he will have access to the very best medical treatment during his recovery, he should make a speedier recovery than others that suffer a similar knee injury.

Causes & Symptoms Of Knee Injury

While many knee injuries do arise as a result of sporting accidents, more common incidents – including slips, trips, and falls – can also cause a sprain to knee ligaments.

As the largest joint in the body, the knee can be especially susceptible to injuries – a fact that is only compounded by the location of the joint, which supports our entire bodyweight.

Aside from accidents, knee injuries can arise from repetitive action, which can include performing the same type of movement over an extended period – this gave rise to so-called 'housemaid's knee', which describes inflammation to the knee as a result from excessive kneeling.

Some of the most common types of knee injuries that occur from accidents and mishaps are:

  • Fracture to the kneecap
  • Dislocation
  • Sprains of the knee ligaments, this includes the Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL), the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), and the Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL)
  • Tears to the cartilage
  • Tears to the tendons
  • Nerve Damage – this can lead to chronic pain conditions such as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS)

Legal Implications Of Knee Injuries

Most people are not lucky enough to receive the same early diagnosis and specialist care as footballers, which may mean that the road to recovery is far more uncertain for the majority of people.

Explaining how most knee injury cases unfold, Melanie says:

"No matter how old you are, the consequences of a knee injury can be devastating. Before people have a knee injury it is unlikely that they pay their knee joints much attention, however no matter how minor it is – an injury can immediately impact mobility and can affect an individual's ability to carry out basic day-to-day tasks."

"Most of my clients who have suffered knee injuries take a long period of time to recover and for some, the effects are lifelong. A knee injury can bring an end to an individual's career, particularly if their job involved weight bearing; on top of this individuals that are left with post-accident arthritis can suffer long term problems due to their injury."

"If you are injured in an accident which is the fault of somebody else, the law does not expect you to have the same levels of physical fitness as Ronaldo. The general rule is that claimants are judged on an individual basis, meaning that it will generally be accepted that those with fragile knees before an accident will take longer to recover – with this being considered when a compensation claim is calculated."

"The Judicial College Guidelines – which is used as a reference point for valuing common injuries – recognise the seriousness of knee injuries. The guidelines outline brackets for a knee injury, which range from £11,500 to £80,440."

"This is only one of many aspects considered when calculating a claim, as the majority of damages are awarded for real-world fiscal loss caused by an injury."

"Early rehabilitation and access to the right treatment is always encouraged to see the best possible outcome from a knee injury."


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