The knee contains different ligaments that connect adjacent tissues and muscles for proper movement. These structures also maintain stability of the knee joint for improved mobility. Unfortunately, knee ligaments are vulnerable to injury when exposed to trauma during extreme sports and vehicular accidents.
Common Knee Ligament Injuries
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear is the most common knee ligament injury among athletes. When the knee rapidly twists in a certain direction, the ligament becomes prone to maximal strain. A sudden halt after running may also modify the regular configuration of the ligament. Generally, if ACL tension remains higher than the standard tolerable force, the connective tissue becomes more susceptible to partial and complete tears.
Injuries in the medial cruciate ligament (MCL), lateral cruciate ligament (LCL) and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) have fewer incidences. However, damage in these ligaments still alter the normal back and forth movement of the knee.
Signs and Symptoms of Knee Ligament Injuries
Knee ligament tears are characterized by distinct popping sound at the onset of injury. If the tissue is completely torn, a loud click or snap is often felt by the person. After a few seconds, the knee will undergo swelling due to localized bleeding in the injured area.
The extent of the pain is dependent on the severity of injury. In most cases, even the slightest pressure over the affected region results to pain. As a result, the patient experiences difficulty in standing, walking and jumping. Movement is limited due to weakness and instability of the injured ligament.
Management of Knee Ligament Injuries
Injuries in the knee require immediate diagnosis and treatment by a skilled medical practitioner. Imaging tests such as Computed Tomography (CT) scan and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) are used to determine the extent and location of the ligament tear for appropriate treatment. After surgical management, rehabilitation is done to restore regular function of the knee.
The Bottom Line
Knee ligament injuries frequently occur among athletes who play basketball, soccer, martial arts and other sports. Therefore, immediate medical management is crucial to speed up recovery.