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Center fielder Denard Span tends to right fielder Bryce Harper after Harper was shaken up running into the wall chasing a hit by A.J. Ellis of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium May 13. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Capital Games welcomes back Dr. Ray Solano, a chiropractor with a specialty in sports medicine who has been contributing posts about how injuries affect our teams.
Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper's knee injury last season was much worse than originally expected, he revealed in an interview with the MLB Network.
"It was a lot worse than many people thought," Harper said.
Harper injured the knee originally in Atlanta, last April, while crashing into the fence in right field. Matters only worsened weeks later at Dodger Stadium when Harper collided violently with a wall in right field. Harper was eventually shut down with a diagnosis of knee bursitis.
"I was hurting right after I got done with hitting the wall in Dodger Stadium. I pretty much played hurt through the rest of the year,” Harper said.
A bursa is a pad-like sac found near a joint. The knee has several of these that are filled with lubricating fluid which facilitate motion in the knee and decrease friction.
Problems arise when a bursa becomes inflamed. This is known as bursitis, and the bursa loses its gliding capabilities, which can lead to irritation.
Bursitis varies in degree from a mild irritation to an abscess that causes excruciating pain.
After failed attempts to treat the bursitis conservatively, Harper ended up having surgery to repair the damaged bursa last October. Dr. Richard Steadman performed the surgery and ultimately found the need to remove 10 percent of Harper's bursa.
"He went in and really saw that it was pretty bad. He fixed it and I've been feeling great,” Harper said.
Surgery is sometimes necessary to remove a thickened portion of the bursa that has not improved with other treatments. Removal is what creates the space necessary to reduce friction in the knee
Knees are very fickle in Washington, and as we found out with Robert Griffin III, they can be devastating to a season. Expect the Nationals to monitor Harper and his knee very closely with spring training just around the corner.