The knee that ruined Christmas

Nick Kyrgios always seems to make the headlines – commonly due to his on-court showmanship or his fiery tongue. But recently, something else has put Nick under the limelight… his knee. Nick has recently pulled out of the 2023 Australian Open due to a knee injury that just hasn’t been getting better. We have all experienced knee problems, whether it is a clicking sensation that you feel when you are squatting, or a pop you hear when you are dodging opponents on the field, or a twinge you get when you are just playing around with the kids. Sometimes, these settle quite quickly, but other times, like in Nick’s case, you need to take a bit of time off what you love, to really get a handle on it and fix your knee up.

The big question is: What happened to Nick?

Nick has a parameniscal cyst. A lot of us have heard of the meniscus. We have two menisci in each knee – they sit within the joint, between the thigh bone and the two bones in the lower leg. They help to absorb and transmit forces whenever we run, jump and hop, and give us greater stability and movement. Meniscus tears commonly happen when playing sport, usually from a twisting or rotating motion of the knee, direct impact to the knee, or even due to repetitive, degenerative progresses. After a tear forms, particularly a ‘horizontal tear’, fluid from the knee joint can enter the torn meniscus, creating a parameniscal cyst.

Not all parameniscal cysts will affect us, and similarly, not all meniscus tears will affect us. Some of us may even have a tear without even knowing, as you can still do everything you want to, pain-free. However, sometimes these tears can affect our ability to play sports, to participate in our weekend activities, or even to live our daily lives. As most of the meniscus has poor blood supply, recovery can be quite slow. Depending on your goals, physio can help to increase your movement, and build strength in the muscles around you knee, to give greater support. Nick has already attempted to drain the fluid from the cyst, but this hasn’t been effective. He will soon undergo an arthroscopic surgery to remove his cyst and potentially repair his meniscus. Afterwards, he will work with his physio to regain strength and stability in the knee.

Although most of us are not world-famous tennis players, we still need to take care of our bodies. Nick’s situation just shows us how important it is to take action when we have an injury. Although it isn’t always possible to prevent injuries, we can do our best by ensuring we have good flexibility and joint mobility, and our muscles are nice and strong to cope with everything we throw at them.

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