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Sep 2019

Injuries to the Ligaments of the Knee

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Injuries to the Ligaments of the Knee

Function of Ligaments of the Knee:

  • The knee is one of the largest and most complex joints in the body. Ligaments provide stability to the joint.
  • The ACL or anterior cruciate ligament prevents the femur from sliding back onto the tibia or tibia sliding forward on the femur.
  • The PCL or posterior cruciate ligament prevents the femur from sliding forward on the tibia or tibia sliding backward on the femur.
  • The MCL or medial collateral ligament and LCL or lateral collateral ligament prevent the femur from sliding side to side.

Function of Ligaments of the Knee

  • Ligaments are short bands of tough flexible fibrous bands of connective tissue that connects two bones or cartilages or holds together a joint

Injuries to the knee are common with all four being fairly common:

  • ACL – anterior cruciate ligament
  • PCL – posterior cruciate ligament
  • MCL – medial collateral ligament
  • LCL – lateral collateral ligament

Causes of Knee Injuries:

  • Direct Trauma or blow to the knee. A blow to the outside (lateral) will cause damage on the opposing Medial Colateral Ligament. A direct blow from behind the knee will damage the ACL or anterior cruciate ligament.
  • Athletes in high demand sports such as football, soccer and basketball often injure the ACL ligament. The high speed direction change or landing incorrectly from a jump can often damage the ACL.
  • The PCL ligament is an injury that often occurs from a direct blow but can also in sports related contact sports.
  • The MCL and LCL are most often injured in sports where high speed directional change as well as a blow or direct impact to the side of the knee. The most common injury to the knee is the MCL ligament where the outside of the knee is often directly struck.

Injuries to the Knee or Often Classified into 3 stages:

  • A mild or 1st degree sprain. Where there is a minor stretch or minor tear of the ligament. The knee is stable on a relaxed knee and the person can continue with activity with some discomfort.
  • A moderate or 2nd degree sprain. Where tearing of the ligament fibres occurs which can be from several fibres to the majority of the fibres. There is a snapping sound at the time of injury and the joint gives way. At this point, the joint is hypermobile (excessive joint play) and the person has difficulty continuing the activity due to pain.
  • A severe or 3rd degree sprain. There is either a complete rupture of the ligament itself or where there is an avulsion fracture (the bony attachment of the ligament is torn off but the ligaments remains intact). There is a snapping sound and the joint gives way. There is significant instability and the person cannot continue the activity due to pain and hypermobility.


Treatment for Injuries of the Knee:

  • For acute injuries to the ligaments of the knee, treatment would consist of reducing inflammation swelling and pain.
  • This results in fewer adhesions forming within the joint and will help to maintain the range of motion of the knee.
  • Strengthening programs to specific muscles of the knee to help stabilize the structures around the knee to allow the ligaments time to heel.
  • A Bauerfeind Knee Brace to help stabilize the knee (we carry these in stock).

For more Information contact our staff at Dynamic Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic Inc.

posterior cruciate ligament tear

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