Cruciate ligament rupture: Mikel Oyarzabal’s serious injury

The forward of the Spanish team has a great possibility of missing the Qatar 2022 World Cup due to this injury. What is it about?

Last update: 18 March, 2022

The striker for Real Sociedad and the Spanish national team, Mikel Oyarzabal, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. This serious injury means missing the rest of the physical preparation with his team, the start of the next season of The league and, almost certainly, the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Although the conditions are already in place for the player to undergo surgery, as the club reported in the official medical report, recovery times from this disorder are long. That is why it is considered one of the worst scenarios for the athlete.

Oyarzabal’s cruciate ligament rupture would have happened in training. A certain movement of the knee generated an excessive torque that ended the injury.

The anterior cruciate ligament: danger for footballers

The ligament that Mikel injured is in his knee. Inside, it runs diagonally across the central region of the joint to join the femur to the tibia.

Is named crossed because it forms a letter X by interposing itself with the posterior cruciate ligament, which passes a little further back, also diagonally. Both anatomical structures have the function of allowing forward and backward movement of the knee.

For footballers, this ligament is a terror. His injury leaves him out of competition for a long time and requires a rehabilitation that cannot be avoided. In addition, there is always the risk of being left with consequences, both in terms of power and mobility.

The classic injury is a sprain, that is, a stretching of the fibers beyond normal. This can be caused by twisting the knee that is extreme. The next level of severity is tearing or tearing, which occurs when stretching exceeds the ability of the fibers to hold together.

The appearance of the problem is sudden. It is common for the athlete to be running or jumping and perceive a kind of click in the knee. This noise, in severe cases, is audible even by people who are close to the patient.

The pain manifests itself immediately and there is functional impotence. It means that you cannot continue with the activity that you have been doing, since the knee does not respond or the pain limits your movements.

Wanting to sit up, the person realizes that his knee is unstable. Carrying the full weight of the body is difficult and secondary supports are needed to stand.

The knees are structures with many soft elements inside that can be injured: cartilage, ligaments and tendons.


Diagnosis of the injury

As reported by the Royal Society regarding the rupture of Oyarzabal’s anterior cruciate ligament, Complementary imaging tests were required to confirm the diagnosis. This is the recommended procedure in case of clinical suspicion.

Health professionals often try a few simple maneuvers on the joint to check for swelling, noise, and lack of full mobility. Then they indicate X-rays and MRIs.

Both studies show the presence of associated or non-associated injuries and fractures, which could complicate the clinical picture. The magnetic resonance, capable of revealing the state of the soft tissues, will be the one that indicates the state of the ligament with certainty. Not so the X-ray, which will only allow to observe the bone.



What treatment awaits Oyarzabal?

We must distinguish between the initial approach to the rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament and the subsequent treatment, which will be surgical in Mikel Oyarzabal. First aid was provided at the training ground.

The recommendation for the first approach to the patient is to use the RHCE method. These are acronyms that bring together the initials of the following mnemonics:

  • Repose: it is ideal to lie the patient down so as not to overload the knee further and cause new associated injuries.
  • Ice: the cold acts as an anti-inflammatory. It is placed on the affected knee intermittently, causing its size to be reduced.
  • Compression: the use of knee pads, bandages or special splints for these cases contributes to rest and immobilization so that the ligament stops bearing loads.
  • Elevation: the member slightly elevated, above the level of the hips, will allow the accumulated inflammatory liquid to drain better, calming the pain.
The application of cold to the injured knee seeks to reduce immediate inflammation.

knee surgery

Mikel Oyarzabal will undergo surgery for his torn anterior cruciate ligament. This is part of the action protocol for these severe cases that greatly compromise physical integrity. Especially against elite athletes, who could not expect a longer recovery with non-surgical follow-up.

The surgery consists of the removal of the damaged areas of the ligament to reconstruct it with a graft, which is usually obtained from a tendon of the patient himself. Sometimes the procedure is completed in a single time, but other times 2 admissions are made to the joint.

The decision in one way or another is subject to the intervening team and the conditions of the patient. The evidence indicates that no significant differences in results.

We do not know what the option will be for Oyarzabal. What is predicted is a long recovery, as always happens with an injury of this magnitude.

Usually, up to 10 months of rehabilitation are stipulated after the surgical intervention. This implies all of 2022 for Mikel. And unfortunately, the World Cup in Qatar in November would be left out of his schedule.

The most conservative specialists usually suggest up to a year of sports inactivity before returning to activity. Although various techniques predict an accelerated and faster recovery, in any case we are facing almost 12 months ahead.

The only thing left is waiting for Mikel

The rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament augurs patience for Mikel Oyarzabal. His youth plays in favor. In any case, it is still a hard blow to the race.

The player expressed himself optimistically on his social networks. That attitude is what will get you through this year without despairing of inactivity.

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