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Chances of successfully returning to skateboarding

do increase dramatically the longer you stay in rehab.

 ­­– Jeroen Stam

P-Rod's knee injury explained.

Written by Jeroen Stam, edited by Matt Beare

We all heard P-Rod recently suffered from a serious injury to his knee - something called an unhappy/terrible triad (apparently it got this name from the fact that most people with this injury start feeling unhappy), which in a nutshell means taking out 3 of the main structures inside your knee, or in other words absolutely obliterating your knee. This article will go over some of the symptoms and causes of the different parts of his knee injury and then a bit on prevention so hopefully you never undergo the same problem.


This article has been written by none other than Jeroen Stam, aka @skateboardphysio, aka the on-site physio at the last Street League in Rio de Janeiro.


The meniscus is a structure inside the knee that's constructed to absorb impact and distribute force throughout the leg. Athletes of any sport are more at risk of damaging this part of the knee than non-athletes, and although this will make a lot of skaters cringe, by definition we’re athletes too. The reason why athletes are more at risk is because meniscus tears come from turning and twisting movements; movements that occur in a lot of sports, and they occur a lot in skateboarding too.


The first thing you’ll notice when you have a meniscus tear is pain and swelling of the knee, along with painful catching and locking sensations typically present too. Depending on the location of the tear, meniscus tears can heal on their own without the need for surgery, and most of the time the orthopaedic surgeon or physiotherapist will just try to help you deal with the pain, and prescribe strengthening exercises to rebuild the meniscus.

meniscus injury skateboarding


MCL: medial collateral ligament.

The MCL is a ligament that prevents the knee from collapsing inward or overstretching, which it does with the help of a number of other ligaments and muscles. It isn’t shown well in the picture but the MCL is actually a wide ligament that fans out giving your knee support from many angles, and preventing it from snapping in half when you pop your tricks.


Injury to the MCL is common in all sports and can normally be treated with immobilisation, physiotherapy, and or surgery depending on the damage. Because the MCL is attached to the meniscus it isn’t too uncommon to injure them both at the same time. Complaints from an MCL tear might be pain, swelling, bruising on the inside of your knee, pain when straightening the knee, and/or a feeling of instability.