Knee Ligament Injuries

Symptoms: Immediate pain and swelling in the knee may follow an injury, and depending on severity, the knee may not be able to move normally or bear weight.

Causes: Four ligaments in the knee are subject to injury from falls or direct trauma. Although the knee functions well with normal activity, it is the most frequently injured joint in the body when exposed to trauma. Excessive twisting or stretching forces will overcome ligament structures, resulting in either sprain or tear. The direction of force will determine which ligament(s) are injured.

Relief: For a complete (grade 3) tear of the ligament, knee surgery will be indicated in most cases. Recovery after surgery will vary according to the surgeon’s protocol and the type and severity of the injury. For most partial tears (grades 1 or 2), surgery is not needed and a full recovery can be gained through personalized physical therapy. Treatment focuses on strengthening of the quadriceps, hamstring and gluteal muscles, while restoring normal mobility as the ligament heals. End-stage coordination exercises (also known as proprioceptive exercises) are needed to ensure an athlete or worker is ready to return to full activity. This will ensure the muscles react quickly in a coordinated manner to protect the knee from future trauma.