There are 4 main ligaments that provide stability to the knee:
- Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Keeps the tibia (shin bone) from moving forward on the femur (thigh bone)
- Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Keeps the tibia (shin bone) from moving backward on the femur (thigh bone)
- Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Prevents the knee from buckling inward
- Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) Prevents the knee from buckling outward
Injuries to the knee can cause these ligaments to tear. A torn ligament may cause your knee to feel loose or unstable. Sometimes knee injuries will cause more than one of these ligaments to be injured at the same time.
Symptoms of a Knee Ligament Injury
- Pain in the knee joint following the injury
- Swelling (may not always be present)
- Feelings of instability
- Feeling a pop at time of injury
Treatment of Knee Ligament Injuries
Knee ligament injuries may or may not need surgery. This depends on which ligament is torn. MCL and PCL tears usually heal without surgery. ACL tears should be treated with surgery in active patients who want to return to recreational or competitive athletic sports.
People who have a torn ACL can participate in some sports that don’t involve a lot of cutting or changes of direction. The decision of how to treat your injury will be discussed with you at your appointment.