What to Learn from Patrick Cote’s Knee Injury

If you got a chance to catch the UFC on Saturday night and saw Patrick Cote’s knee injury when he was fighting the Spider, you were probably disappointed that the 2 warriors didn’t get a chance to properly finish what they started.

I sure was. I love getting a chance to watch Silva at work, and I thought Cote showed that he definitely has a chin.

But what I want to talk about is the knee injury that Cote suffered.

You could see the shin bone kind of move forward and out laterally when he hurt himself. In some interviews he said that it’s an old meniscus, but from the way it looked, I believe that he hurt his ACL. Often with a buckling type injury, it’s a ligament that gets damaged.

The ACL functions to stop the shin (tibia/fibula) from sliding forward under the thigh bone (femur), but only when the muscles aren’t there to do their job.

PICTURE it this way: put your right fist up like at the top of a bicep curl, then put your left fist on top of your right fist. When you slide your right fist forward towards the computer screen, that’s the movement that the ACL prevents, and that’s what happened to Cote’s knee.

So the ACL will come into play in a really quick pivot type move, like a running back who cuts hard, or during something unexpected, like getting pushed right before you land from a jump.

The ACL will also work to stabilize the joint if the muscles aren’t strong enough to do the job, so even if you’re expecting the movement or it’s a planned movement, like a hard cut in football, if you don’t have strong muscles, you can still tear your ACL.

To prevent ACL injuries, you need to make sure your hamstrings and calves are strong and powerful. So exercises like Stiff-leg deadlifts and Swiss ball leg curls are crucial to knee injury prevention. The muscles worked in these exercises do exactly what the ACL does, prevent anterior slide of the lower leg on the upper leg. These exercises are all a part of my MMA Strength and Conditioning program.

So the lesson to learn here is to keep the muscles strong, but even more importantly, powerful. The muscles need to be able to react quickly, so doing exercises such as repetitive, explosive jumps like squat jumps and others found in my NRG system complexes will train this quality.

Well that’s it for now, hope you enjoyed the rest of the UFC and I’ll talk with you soon.

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10 years ago


10 years ago

The same thing just happened to me on a high level sparring session at a Karate training camp. Had my front leg sweeped just before it landed after a kick, the back knee gave in with a loud POP and I ended on my back holding my knee, prognosis sectioned external lateral ligament, damage to the internal and maybe more after the MRI … Bad, bad , bad feeling. The training camp has been quite intense with lots explosive rotations and working mainly on the legs and hips. Now that the bad is done I have to concentrate on the healing process, I’ve been to the E.R. where they strapped me and gave me crutches, I have to be on a waiting list to pass the MRI, in the meantime I’d like to have as much recovery/healing tips and tricks as possible, what should I do, should I get a… Read more »

10 years ago
Reply to  Joel

Hey man – this was an old post so I’m just getting to it now!

Where are you at with respect to the knee right now?

Exercises are anything that is closed chain (foot on the floor) but doesn’t cause pain.

Best bet is to do stiff-leg deadlifts and light squats if your form is good.

Diet – eat lots of healthy foods! Avoid inflammatory causing foods: sugar, white flour, pop, chips, junks, etc…

Take fish oils and make sure you get lotsa quality protein and fats of all types: saturated, mono (olive oil, nuts, avocado), poly (fish oil, flax).

Hope this helps, albeit a bit late! 🙂