Articular Cartilage Injuries

articular cartilage injury

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE. With my training, I’m interessted in biomechanics to avoid injuries. I read « Sport Medicine Media Guide » and I learned some good stuff.

Definition

Articular cartilage is difficult to understand because there are 3 types of cartilages in the body : articular of hyaline cartilage (covers joint surfaces), fibrocartilage (knee meniscus, vertebral disk) and elastic cartilage (outer ear). These cartilage’s types differ in their structure, elasticity and strength.

Articular cartilage is a complex element, it’s a living tissue that is on the joint’s surface. The function is to provide a low friction surface to allow the joint to withstand weight loads through the range of motion needed to perform activity of daily living. To put it simply, articular cartilage is a very thin shock absorber. It’s built in 5 distinct layers and each layer has a structural and biochemical difference.

Injury

articular cartilage injury

Articular cartilage injury may be due to trauma or progressive degeneration (wear and tear). This can be mechanical destruction, a direct blow or other trauma. The healing of articular cartilage cells depends on the severity of the damage and the location of the lesion. Articular cartilage has no direct blood supply so it has very little ability to repair itself. It the lesion penetrates the bone under the cartilage, the bone provides blood in the area which improves the chances of healing.

Mechanical degeneration (wear and tear) of articular cartilage occurs with progressive loss of normal cartilage structure and function. This loss begins with the softening of the cartilage, then progresses to fragmentation. As the loss of articular cartilage lining continue, the underlying bone no longer has any protections against normal wear and tear of daily life and begins to get damaged leading to osteoarthritis.

In many cases, a patient experiences knee swelling and vague pain. At this stage, continuous physical activity isn’t possible. If a loose body is present, words such as « locking » or « catching » might be used to explain the problem. With wear and tear , the patient often experiences stiffness, decreased range of motion, joint pain and/or swelling.

Diagnostic

The physician examines the knee to look for a decrease in range of motion, pain along the joint line, swelling, fluid on the knee, abnormal alignment of the joint’s bones, and ligament or meniscal injury.

Cartilage lesions are difficult to diagnose and it’s possible that the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or arthroscopy may be necessary. Plain X- rays don’t usually diagnose articular cartilage problems but they used to rule out other abnormalities.

Treatment

articular cartilage injury treatment

 

Articular cartilage injury that doesn’t penetrate the bone doesn’t repair itself. A lesion that penetrates the bone can heal but the type of cartilage created is structurally unorganized and doesn’t work as well as the original cartilage.

Lesion less than 2 cm have the best prognosis and the best treatment options. These options are arthroscopic surgery using techniques to remove damaged cartilage and increase blood flow from the underlying bone (drilling, pick procedure or microfracture ).

For smaller lesion of articular cartilage surgery is not required.

For larger lesion, it’s necessary to transplant the articular cartilage from another area of the body. Talk to your doctor or specialist to have more information about the decision to have a surgical operation.

For patients with osteoarthritis, non-surgical treatment consists of physical therapy, lifestyle modification (for example reducing activity), bracing, supportive devices, oral and injection drugs (like non-steroidal inflammatory drugs, cartilage protective drugs) and medical management.

Surgical options depend on the severity of osteoarthritis and may provide a reduction in symptoms that are usually short-lived. Total osteoarthritis may relieve the symptom of advanced osteoarthritis but this usually requires a change in the lifestyle and/or level of activity of the patient.

Statistics

Based on published studies, the overall prevalence of articular cartilage injury in the knee is 36% among all athlete and 59% among asymptomatic basketball players and runners.

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-Steph

Know How Much Weight To Lift (Part 2)

how much

I read a Nerd Fitness article  and I learned good stuff.

If you didn’t read the Part 1, click here 

Several workouts later

several workout

Now that you know your starting weight, you can do the « progressive overload » method.

« Progressive overload » method involves gradually increasing the stress in your body during training.

For beginners, this means increasing the weight at each workout session. You know after each workout, your body is healed. And if you do things well by having good nutrition and good sleep, your body becomes stronger than before.

When your body gets used to your workout, it’s bad sign. When your body used to do 5 sets of 5 reps, it will become more effective so your body will burn fewer calories and use fewer processes to achieve movement.

To know when you need to add weight, you need to look at the difficulty you had in your last set. That’s why it’s important to track your workout to analyze your performance. You can use a paper notebook, Evernote  or a fitness app like Jefit . Document how much you lift, how many sets you do, how many reps you do, the degradation of your technique arrived at what set and what reps and quality of your latest set.

If you couldn’t do all reps of the last set with a good technique, take the same weight at your next session to improve your technique.

Doing this guarantee you that you don’t stagnate because every rep you do is more solid et better than the last time. To improve, it’s not necessary to increase weights at each workout. You can rest less between your set, improve movement control or do more reps. All these variations mean that you become stronger.

On the other hand if you can do all sets with an excellent technique without the barbell’s speed, it’s time to add weight. It doesn’t matter than you add 9 kg (20 lbs) or 1.1 kg(2.5 lbs), you progress.

All professional athletes will tell you it’s better to add weights slowly and progress constantly rather than to progress quickly and hit a plateau. In this way, you build your strength, your confidence and your momentum.

That’s why I recommend you to start too lightly for you progress constantly.

In life, there are ups and downs so there are days when you can’t add more weight because there is a lot of stress at school/work or you haven’t sleep enough and so on. It’s important to listen to your body rather than absolutely lift the weight you want.

Find your ta 1 rep max

1 rep max

It’s really fun to find the maximum amount of weight you can lift for a rep from time to time.

However for a beginner who has just started, it’s better to make the movement with a proper technique and add weight slowly to try to find. I advise you to follow a workout’s program for at least 6 weeks before to try to find your 1 rep max.

Why

Even if your technique is good for a beginner, you’ll have a better results by learning to make ajustements and corrections as you go. When you start, your body isn’t prepared to do this performance so if after 2 weeks you try to find your 1 rep max, it will not be your true 1 rep max.

In addition, when you train, you train everything in your body. Things like muscles and bones will become stronger while others like the nervous system will become more effective. The more often you do something and the better you do. When you’re a beginner you get better quickly.

And as you are a beginner, you haven’t yet experienced it. It’s not safe to try your 1 rep max when you learn the movement. Even if you have a good technique with a light weight, you’re going to hurt yourself because you don’t have the experience yet.

When your technique begins to deteriorate, you need to have experience to complete or stop the movement safely.

If you look at weightlifting or powerlifting competition, sometimes the way to lift does’t have the best technique you’ve seen. However, the lifters have enough experience to handle this and know how to stop the movement if something goes wrong. When you’re a beginner, you don’t know how to do it.

The respectable quantity to be lift

bench press fail

In fact, I think you already know the answer : it’s the weight that suits you. That’s why it’s important to keep track of your workouts because your’re competing with the « You » of the last week. It’s like racing your ghost in Mario Kart.

You’re like me, you want to have a strength better than average strength but it’s more complex that what you think because it depends on your body’s type, your background as an athlete, your genetics and other factors.

If there was a formula or a calculation, we would all have a superhero’s body but this is not the case.

This is why you have to concentrate on lifting the weight that is right for you today. At your next training, you’ll try to lift heavier and if you can’t do it, you will do more repetitions or decrease you rest time between your sets.

In this adventure to have an athletic body for life, forget people around you. The person who is next to you do squat at 226.7 kg (500 lbs) and you squat at 22.6 kg (50 lbs) ? Forget it ! If you squat at 22.6 kg (50 lbs) and it’s a challenge, it means that it’s the right weight you should lift.

Never modify your workout to impress the personne who is next to you. No one is judged by the weight he lifts and if people do that, they’re not future winner/champion. It’s the losers who seek shortcuts.

Remember :

  • Winners warm up with the empty barbell.

  • Winners focus on their reps and aren’t ashamed to lift less than the person next to them.

  • Winner take the time to do things right, even if it means lifting less than what they know can do.

  • Winners started with a beginner workout program like you

Remains cautious, begins slowly, adds weight slowly.

It’s better to train in safety early rather than hurt yourself and be frustrated before you’ve progressed like my friends hurt in the shoulder. My physique has progressed a lot while their bodies stagnate because of their shoulder injury.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph