If you are an active person, you probably already know that you are more prone to knee ligament injures. An ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury commonly puts people on the bench. In fact, the pain is sharp and sudden and can limit what you do.
In most cases, however, recovery is entirely possible. As a matter of fact, treatment has improved in today’s day and age!
Your ligaments are durable bands of tissue. And these ligaments connect bones in your body. However, within the knee, there are four commonly injured knee ligaments, such as:
ACL (anterior cruciate ligament): This connects the shin bone to the thigh bone. And is an ACL injury is one of the most common ligament injuries.
PCL (posterior cruciate ligament): This also links the thigh and shin bones but is behind the knee. It’s typically only injured in car accidents, though.
LCL (lateral collateral ligament): This one connects the thigh bone to your fibula, and it is the smaller bone in your lower leg.
MCL (medial collateral ligament): This ligament connects the same bones as the LCL, but on the inner side of the knee. An MCL injury is when the ligament is stretched too far and tears.
What Do Knee Ligament Injuries Feel Like?
When you injure one of your knee ligaments, you may experience:
- Sudden and severe pain
- A loud pop or snap
- A feeling of looseness in the knee
- Swelling in the first 24 hours
- Inability to put weight on your knee
In any case, medical attention is required right away. An ACL tear may even require surgery. However, that depends on the severity of the injury. If surgery is necessary, it will help the knee to become stable again. A doctor needs to diagnose a knee ligament injury by performing an exam. Overly swollen knees are often drained of fluid. MRI scans will identify the damaged ligament. X-rays can also be done to make sure there are no broken bones.
Treatment for Knee Ligament Injuries
Mild injuries can heal on their own. You can expedite healing time by:
- Resting your knee.
- Not putting weight on the knee (use crutches if you need to get around.)
- Icing your knee every day, every 3 or 4 hours, for 20 minutes at a time.
- Compress your knee. Use elastic bandages to control swelling.
- Raising your knee when lying down.
- Wearing a knee brace.
Taking anti-inflammatory medications. These will help with both pain and swelling.
Stretching and doing strengthening exercises. Ask your doctor or a physical therapist for recommendations.
Do You Need Surgery?
For mild injuries, surgery is not typically needed. But, only your doctor will know for sure. Most MCL and LCL injuries do not need surgery. However, with ACL and PCL injuries, surgery is often required. If the ligament is completely torn or stretched.
Reconstructive knee surgery is typically the only solution. A Surgeon will take a tendon from another part of your leg or a donor. Then, it is used to replace the torn ligament. However, this is a complicated procedure and is not for everybody. Those experiencing severe knee instability may opt for it. And also, athletes that want to get back in action will too.
If pain is not too severe, you may skip surgery. There is a risk of lifelong instability though. You can have a brace made to help reduce this. Discuss all your options with your doctor.
If you have a knee injury, call us immediately at 888-409-8006. Our offices are located throughout South Florida. Locations include in Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, & Plantation.