Ligament Injuries of the Knee

Health Articles

Apr 15, 2021

Providing stability and mobility to the joint, the ligaments of the knee are also commonly involved in sports injuries, particularly in sports which require sudden stopping, starting, cutting and changes in direction. The ligaments of the knee include the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, the posterior cruciate ligament, or PCL, the medial collateral ligament, or MCL and the lateral collateral ligament, or LCL. 

Anatomy of the Knee Ligaments  

Starting with the ACL, this ligament is located at the center of the knee, just below the kneecap and controls rotation and forward movement of the tibia, or shin bone. The PCL is located opposite, or in the back of the knee, and controls the backward movement of the tibia. The MCL provides stability to the medial side of the knee, or the inside, while the PCL provides stability to the lateral side of the knee, or the outside.  

Common Causes of Knee Injuries  

Beginning with the cruciate ligaments, or the ACL and PCL, the ACL is one of the most commonly injured ligaments. Often a cause of overstretching and tearing, the ACL can be injured during sudden twisting motions of the knee such as may occur during basketball, football, soccer, and other sports. The PCL is more commonly injured as a result of a direct impact, such as a tackle or high-impact accident.  

Injuries to the MCL and LCL are also often caused by direct and forceful contact found in high-impact sports such as football, rugby, or hockey.  

Symptoms of Knee Ligament Injuries 

The injured athlete will often experience a popping sensation in the knee followed by instability, such as being unable to stand on or walk on the affected leg. Swelling and pain may also occur, particularly with injuries to the MCL and LCL.  

Treatments of Knee Ligament Injuries 

If the ligament is overstretched but intact, your physician may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy to treat the injury. If the ligament is torn, surgery is often indicated for patients looking to return to sports or very active lifestyles. As always, every circumstance is unique to the patient; consult with your physician for your most effective treatment plan.  

If you suspect you may have suffered a ligament injury of the knee, book your appointment online to see one of our sports medicine physicians today.

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