Sports Knee and Lower Leg Injury
Don’t let sports-related knee and lower leg injuries and disorders keep you from the game.
The goal of our sports medicine team is to return athletes to the field as quickly as possible, with little to no long-term side effects.
We offer advanced treatments, including platelet-rich plasma injections, the anatomic approach to ACL reconstruction, and carefully crafted injury prevention programs to strengthen your knees and lower legs.
We treat all sports-related knee and leg injuries, including:
- Stress factors in the lower leg or fibula (figure skating injuries)
- Anterior knee mechanism injuries like quadricep tendonitis and patellar tendonitis (basketball)
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) knee injury
- Knee ligament sprains and ankle sprains
- Runner’s knee
- Knee dislocation
Symptoms of sports-related knee and lower leg injuries and disorders include:
- Knee swelling or stiffness
- Knee pain, especially at the sides of your knee. If there is an MCL injury, the pain is on the inside of the knee; an LCL injury may cause pain on the outside of the knee
- Popping or crackling sounds in the knee
- Bruising or tenderness
- Loss of full range of motion
- Difficulty walking due to instability
- Catching or locking of your knee
Our specialists can often diagnose the cause of knee injury or leg injury by studying your medical history and conducting a physical exam.
Sometimes, as with a torn MCL or ACL, your doctor might order magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to get a better look at the ligament.
Many times, for recreational athletes or weekend warriors, we will recommend physical therapy or rehabilitation before an MRI, since the goal is to heal the lower leg or knee before surgery is required. Often, rehabilitation is enough to heal the knee or leg.
Our specialists offer safe treatments focused on reducing downtime and helping you achieve long-term performance goals. We always consider the knee injury or leg injury, your objectives, and the full spectrum of treatment options available.
Whenever possible, our team offers nonsurgical treatments before recommending surgery. These treatments include:
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation programs designed with the athlete’s physiology, athletic goals, and injury history in mind.
- ACL injury-prevention programs that teach athletes how to incorporate normal exercise into their routine to increase the strength of the ACL. This injury-prevention program teaches patients how to land and how to jump in order to decrease the chance of an ACL injury.
- Casting and functional bracing for fractures or severe sprains that require additional support.
- Platelet-rich plasma injections where platelets from the patient’s own blood are injected into the injured knee or leg tissue in order to speed healing. The platelets release growth factors into the injured ligament, tendon, or joint, promoting new cell growth and regeneration.
Minimally Invasive Surgery
Our sports medicine specialists are specially trained to recognize patients who would benefit most from surgery. When surgery is needed, our doctors are experts in minimally invasive surgery, including arthroscopic, mini-open, and open approaches.
In arthroscopic surgery, a small camera is inserted into tiny incisions in the leg. The camera allows the doctor to view the joint and reconstruct it using small surgical instruments. Our expertise in arthroscopic and minimally invasive surgery translates into faster recovery times (sometimes days, instead of weeks) for you.
We also offer the anatomic approach to ACL reconstruction. In anatomic ACL reconstruction, the surgeon reconstructs the ACL in its natural placement, resulting in positive outcomes for patients undergoing ligament reconstruction surgery.
Following surgery, our intensive physical therapy programs help strengthen your knee or lower leg and get you back to competition quickly.
Request an Appointment
To schedule an appointment with a sports medicine specialist at UT Southwestern or to learn more about our services, please fill out the Appointment Request form or call 214-645-8300.