Fight doctor explains knee injuries in MMA

Dr. Jon Gelber of Fight Medicine explains why knee injuries are so common in MMA.

Dr. Jon Gelber, a frequent contributor to Bloody Elbow and the proprietor of Fight Medicine, spoke to Sherdog about the injury wave that's been plaguing MMA the last couple of years. He essentially argues that the reason for the perceived huge wave of injuries is simply a matter of more fights, more fighters, more injuries rather than any kind of increase in the number of injuries per competitor.

It's hard to argue with that point without a massive statistical analysis of the rate of injuries per MMA fight over the past decade but I think Gelber actually made some much more interesting comments regarding the types of knee injuries we most often see in MMA:

"With mixed martial arts, a lot of grappling, a lot of twisting of knees certainly can predispose you to ACL injuries. The addition, though, is, I think, shooting in. It's very interesting to me. I've been looking at a lot of PCL injuries lately, and the PCL, which is behind the ACL, is not very commonly injured. You hardly ever see that in your clinic practice, but you have actually been seeing that a lot in mixed martial artists. Especially we just read about Shane Carwin having to have his PCL, his LCL and his popliteus, all ligaments in the back of the knee, needing to be reconstructed or repaired. I think that's because of the shooting in.

"When you shoot in, your knee hits the ground and there's a posterior, or a backwards-directed force, across the knee and that's when the PCL gets injured. The other time it might happen is in a car accident. We call it a dashboard injury, where the dashboard pushes the knee backwards. You hardly see that in any other sport, but I think with mixed martial arts, you're seeing that specific injury a lot from shooting in. I think another reason we're seeing a lot of injuries in general is just the level of training these guys are having. There are so many cards the last two years that they're training constantly, so they're never giving their bodies a rest. You go in and train hard every single day because you don't want to gas and you're putting yourself at high risk every time you go 100 percent just in training."

Always interesting to hear Dr. Gelber's thoughts on injuries in MMA.


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