Ligament injury knee | Types | Symptoms | Diagnosis & Treatment
The knee joint is the most complex and one of the largest joints in the body. It is crucial for movement. Knee ligament injury (tears or sprains) is the most common type of knee injury (sports injury).
Nowadays, even after different types of ligament injuries, many people – especially athletes, return to work or sporting activity as usual. This was, however, not possible before. In the past, if an athlete has had multiple ligament injuries, his or her future sporting activities would end completely.
Knee ligaments are made of connective tissue that is tough and rubbery. The short band of flexible and tough connective tissue connects knee bones to each other and holds them together. The elastic band of connective tissue gives strength and stability to the knee joint.
Ligament Injury Knee
Sports injuries very often, motorbike or motor car accidents, trauma, and severe knee injury can result in knee ligament injuries. Sporting events such as skiing, football, tennis, and rugby can cause ligament injuries to the knees. Twisting knee injury mostly happens during skiing or basketball.
The knee ligaments connect the tibia (shinbone) and fibula (the smaller bone) in the lower leg to the femur (thighbone). They hold and support bones and cartilage together in the knee joint. There are four major ligaments in the knee joint.
The four main ligaments in each knee include the following:
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)
ACL is in the center of the knee. It controls forward movement and rotation of the shin bone.
Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)
PCL is in the back of the knee. It controls the backward movement of the shin bone.
Medial collateral ligament (MCL)
(MCL) is on the inside. It connects the tibia to the femur. It gives stability to the inner knee.
Lateral collateral ligament (LCL)
LCL is on the outside. It connects the fibula to the femur. LCL gives stability to the outer knee.
Cruciate Ligaments Injuries
Contact sports and high-risk sports such as football, basketball, and skiing can most commonly make you prone to ACL injuries. When you encounter or are subjected to a sudden twisting motion, your ACL stretches and tears during this type of sudden twist. Sometimes, this happens when you place your feet one way, but your knees turn the other way. Incorrect jump, sudden stoppage while running can also cause ACL injuries. This type of knee ligament injury is one of the commonest.
A PCL injury results when you get an impact or hit on your knee joint directly. This is also a common ligament to get injured this way. Mostly, a PCL injury occurs due to a sudden and direct hit on the knee joint. For instance, it happens in a motorbike or car accident or during a football match.
Symptoms of Cruciate Ligaments’ Injuries
A person with this type of injury doesn’t experience pain. However, the injured knee folds or collapses, when the affected person tries to stand on the knee. Some individuals may also experience pain and swelling. However, symptoms may vary from person to person. It is always better to consult an experienced orthopedic doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Collateral Ligaments Injuries
When compared to a lateral collateral ligament (LCL), the medial collateral ligament (MCL) is more prone to injuries. A hit, an impact, or a blow to the outer side of the knee causes the collateral ligaments’ injuries. Sports such as football or hockey make you prone to these types of ligament injuries.
Symptoms of Collateral Ligaments Injuries
A person with this type of injury experiences pain, swelling buckling, and popping sound in the knee joint. The symptoms look similar to the symptoms of cruciate ligaments’ injuries and other orthopedic conditions. Therefore, always see your Orthopedic doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
How is a knee ligament injury diagnosed?
Ligament injury knee: Your orthopedic doctor will do a physical examination and ask a few questions regarding your symptoms and medical history. The doctor may also order one or more of the following tests:
- X-ray: to rule out bone injury;
- MRI: The detailed images surrounding muscles, ligaments, and tendons help in detecting ligament injuries and
- Arthroscopy: Your orthopedic doctor makes a small incision (cut) in the knee joint and passes an arthroscope – an instrument with a light and camera to look into and find the ligament injuries.
How is a knee ligament injury Treated?
Treatment for a knee ligament injury may include a knee brace (protective), pain medicine (ibuprofen), muscle-strengthening exercises, or surgery. Orthopedic doctors take into consideration age, the extent of injury, the severity of the condition, symptoms, and the general health and well-being of the patient.
Ligament injury knee by Dr. Vasudeva Juvvadi