• 01/10/2008

Top flight sport is not healthy

What are the aims and activities of the Spanish Knee Society? We aim to promote and further studies on knee injury pathologies. Injuries affecting this joint are the most frequently occurring orthopaedic pathologies and not only in terms of sports injuries, which are what we see most often in the media. Degenerative injuries represent another large sector. When you are young and you do sport, injuries occur when doing these activities and over time this leads to the appearance of degenerative and deforming pathologies of the knee. The issue of artificial knee joints is also very important due to the large number of cases in which such joints are used, and also due to the economic costs and the fact that such surgery has far-reaching consequences. Another part of the conference will focus on pathologies caused by accidents, which include not only traffic accidents, but also work injuries.

What do you hope to achieve from this conference, which is the first meeting of this specialty in Valencia for 10 years? From a scientific point of view, it is intended to be an idea-sharing session and a chance to update our knowledge. From an organisational perspective, I am highly satisfied that a group of professionals from different hospitals in Valencia have worked together with such enthusiasm. To a certain extent we are also "selling" Valencia. We know that the city is a meeting point, that people like Valencia, that it is a beautiful city which is in fashion at the moment and that people feel comfortable here. Ten years ago we organised a conference on arthroscopy and now we are once again inviting specialists from all over Spain.

Have knee prostheses changed much in recent years? The designs have become fairly standardised and there have been no revolutionary developments. For several years now biomechanical principles have been reasonably standardised. Research is being carried out on prostheses which do not come loose or wear away by studying materials and models which reduce friction, improve functionality and last longer. Current models last a very long time, which is a benefit since the problems involved in changing a prosthesis are complex. Nobody wants to walk with a limp and people want a good quality of life. As a general rule, anyone who has a problem with arthritis which limits their quality of life wants to improve their situation.

Which centres set the benchmark for knee treatment in Spain? The level of treatment in Valencia is extremely high and is at least as good as in the rest of Spain. Any knee complaints can be solved in Valencia. I have tried to ensure that all the members of the organising committee are knee specialists from all our hospitals, namely the Dr Peset Hospital, La Fe, the General Hospital, the University Clinic Hospital, the Arnau de Vilanova Hospital and mutual health insurance centres. All those involved are specialists, although not all specialists are present.

What can people do to avoid knee injuries? To avoid problems it is important to lead a healthy life: watch your weight, do moderate exercise, be careful with your posture, take care when lifting and carrying objects in the workplace. It is also important that people go to see their doctor as soon as they feel any pain, not a year later. Top flight sport is not healthy. No top sportsmen or women have a higher quality of life than a normal person.

Which sector of the population is more prone to suffering knee pathologies? All sectors. Young people are prone to injuries from sport or traffic accidents. Adults are prone to work injuries. Then there are injuries caused by degenerative problems and wearing of the joint which affects a considerable percentage of men and women over 60 years old. Women generally experience problems earlier in life because they have a more sedentary lifestyle.

Which sport causes the greatest number of knee injuries? All sports which involve stopping and changing direction. The typical example is football, with 1.5 million registered players in Spain, although the problem also affects sports which involve jumping, such as basketball. Injuries received while playing American football and rugby are the direct result of other players falling on the knee, and skiing can cause injuries for obvious reasons.