How Are These Injuries Diagnosed
Diagnosing a knee muscle or tendon injury starts with a physical examination and a discussion with your doctor about how the injury first came about. X-rays can help to identify damage to the bone. MRI or ultrasound scans can give a better picture of damage to the tissue, or may be used to rule out other injuries with similar symptoms.
Muscles Around The Knee
The muscles around the knee help to keep the knee stable, well aligned, and moving. There are two main muscle groups around the knee: the quadriceps and the hamstrings. The quadriceps are a collection of 4 muscles on the front of the thigh and are responsible for straightening the knee by bringing a bent knee to a straightened position. The hamstrings are a group of 3 muscles on the back of the thigh that provide the opposite motion by bending the knee from a straightened position.
The iliotibial band is a broad tendinous extension of the tensor fascia lata and gluteus maximus that also helps to stabilize the knee.
How To Help Prevent A Recurrence Of A Knee Ligament Injury
Full recovery has taken place when you can bend and straighten your knee without pain or restriction. There should be no swelling and no pain when you perform any exercise, such as running or walking. If in doubt, consult your doctor or therapist.
To help prevent injury in the future, keep your thigh muscles strong with regular stretching and strengthening exercises. Always warm up your muscles before you undertake strenuous activities. Additional support may be required when taking part in sports that put significant strain on the knee, such as skiing.
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How To Heal A Ligament Tear In Knee Naturally
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Will You Need Surgery
Possibly yes, possibly no, depending on your injury and your doctors guidance. Most LCL and MCL ligament tears will not require surgery, as these are collateral ligament tears. Cruciate ligament tears to the ACL or PCL, however, may need reconstructive knee surgery that splices tendons from different parts of your body, or from a cadaver to replace completely torn or irreparably damaged ligaments.
A ligament reconstruction is a major surgery, and not everyone will want to undergo it . If you have knee pain or the injury has compromised your mobility, however, surgical intervention may be desired. Not getting a recommended surgery could lead to lifelong issues of instability and reinjury, so consider your treatment options with your doctor very carefully. Your recovery time will depend on your injury severity and the procedure you undergo.
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How Long Does It Take To Fully Recover From An Mcl Tear
The time it takes to fully recover from an MCL tear depends on how severe the tear is. A grade 1 MCL tear usually heals within one to three weeks. A grade 2 MCL tear generally takes four to six weeks to heal with treatment. A grade 3 MCL tear can take six weeks or more to heal with treatment. If you undergo surgery to fix your MCL tear, it could take longer.
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Can Knee Ligament Injuries Be Prevented
Knee ligament injuries can be unpredictable and can affect anyone, including fit people who do a lot of sport. Exercising regularly is recommended. Building up the strength in the leg and hip muscles that help to support your knee joint may help to reduce your chance of knee ligament injury. If you are not used to exercising regularly, you should start gently and gradually build up the frequency and intensity of your exercise. See the separate leaflet called Physical Activity for Health for more details.
During an exercise session, or if you are playing sport, make sure that you warm up at the start of your training. Warming up means 5-10 minutes of balance exercises and gradually increasing your activity. This increases the flow of blood to your muscles and helps to loosen up your joint movements. Warming up may also help to prevent injury.
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How Do The Anatomy Of Knee And Lower Leg Affect Movement
The knee is a hinge joint that sits between the thigh and the shin. It functions the same as a hinge on a door and sometimes gets a creaky as a hinge can. This joint allows the legs to bend and straighten, necessary for walking, going up and downstairs, going from sitting to standing, running, and jumping. The knee’s anatomy consists of many structures from the bones, tendons, and ligaments to the cartilage and muscles to help the knee function.
Ligaments In The Knee
Ligaments are strong, tough bands that are not particularly flexible. The function of ligaments is to attach bones to bones and to help keep them stable. In the knee, they give stability and strength to the knee joint as the bones and cartilage of the knee have very little stability on their own.
The pair of collateral ligaments keeps the knee from moving too far side-to-side. The cruciate ligaments crisscross each other in the center of the knee. They allow the tibia to swing back and forth under the femur without the tibia sliding too far forward or backward under the femur. Working together, the 4 ligaments are the most important in structures in controlling stability of the knee.
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Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
The anterior cruciate ligament is often injured during sports activities. Athletes who participate in high demand sports like soccer, football, and basketball are more likely to injure their anterior cruciate ligaments. Changing direction rapidly or landing from a jump incorrectly can tear the ACL. About half of all injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament occur along with damage to other structures in the knee, such as articular cartilage, meniscus, or other ligaments.
Learn more about ACL injuries:
How A Sprained Knee Is Diagnosed
The doctor will test the ligaments by stressing the individual ligaments to see if theres any instability or if the joint is stable.
If you injure your knee, see a doctor as soon as possible. This is especially important if you cant stand up, feel as though your knee will collapse, or your leg looks swollen or bulgy.
The doctor will examine your knee, look for swelling and bruising, and ask you to move it around to determine your mobility. Theyll compare it to your uninjured knee.
Theyll also want to know what you were doing when the injury happened, whether you heard a pop, and how long it took to become painful.
You may also be given imaging tests. An X-ray will show if theres a broken bone, but other imaging methods allow the physician to see different, non-bony structures inside your knee. This includes the ligaments and other tissues that support it.
Knee sprains are rated by severity. An overstretched ligament is grade 1. A partially torn ligament is grade 2. A ligament thats severely torn or separated is considered grade 3.
The treatment your doctor recommends will depend on the severity of your injury and what part of your knee was damaged.
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Muscles And Tendons Of The Knee
Many muscles affect the knee, but the main muscles that allow for the knee to perform its main functions are:
- Quadriceps: A group of 4 muscles that sits on the front of the thigh. These muscles are responsible for allowing the knee to straighten. This movement is necessary for standing from a seated position, bringing your leg forward when walking, and kicking a ball! The two patellar tendons attach the quad to the patella. These tendons can also rupture during sports.
Quadriceps Muscle diagram
Treatments For Knee Ligaments Injuries
Early treatments of injury to ligaments of the knee include:
If treating a torn ligament, treatment may include:
- Knee brace
- Limited activity
- Exercises to strengthen injury point
If a knee ligament is entirely torn, complete recovery may not be possible. Surgery for ligament repair may be needed if the nonsurgical treatment options do not work.
Knee Ligaments Injuries Recovery
Since people heal at a different speed, a therapist should evaluate your injury along with your doctor. The severity of the injury to ligaments of the knee will partially determine your recovery time. You may need to change to low-impact exercise or sporting activities to help an injury heal. Sometimes you cannot resume a sport for as long as six month or longer.
It is important to allow your body the time it needs to heal. Do not push it too hard. If you do, you may suffer permanent damage. You are ready to return to normal activities when:
- The knee or ligament inflammation is gone.
- No pain present when you jog, run or jump.
- No pain present when you bend at the knee.
- Your injured knee feels as good as your good knee.
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Pubofemoral And Iliofemoral Ligaments
There are two major ligaments toward the anterior aspect of the joint. These are the pubofemoral and iliofemoral ligaments. The pubofemoral ligament has several attachments. Proximally, it has attachments from the obturator crest & membrane, superior pubic ramus and the iliopubic eminence. Distally, the triangular ligament integrates with the iliofemoral ligament .
The iliofemoral ligament is described as an inverted Y, and consequently it has been called the Y ligament of Bigelow. The ligament extends from its basal attachment at the intertrochanteric line to its apex between the rim of the acetabulum and the anterior inferior iliac spine.
How Are Sprains Classified
A healthcare provider will grade your sprain by how severe it is and what symptoms you have:
- Grade 1: A grade 1 sprain is a ligament that is overstretched or slightly torn. With a grade 1 strain, youll have minimal pain, swelling and bruising. You wont have much trouble putting weight on that part of the body or using it.
- Grade 2: A grade 2 sprain involves a partial ligament tear. Signs include bruising, swelling, some pain and some difficulty using the body part or putting weight on it.
- Grade 3: A grade 3 sprain is a complete ligament tear or rupture. It causes severe bruising, swelling and pain. With a grade 3 sprain, you cannot use or put weight on that part of the body.
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Cause Of Rupture Of The Knee Meniscus
Because the stability of the knee joint depends only on the ligaments and muscles around the knee, this joint can be easily damaged. In this case, a direct blow to the knee or excessive muscle contraction can damage the knee joint. Lets go.
Injury to the cruciate ligament of the knee is called torsion and rupture and can be divided into the following groups based on its severity:
Type 1 Injury: In this condition, the ligament is slightly damaged. It stretches the ligament a bit, but it can still help keep the knee joint in place.
Type 2 Injury: In this condition, the damaged ligament becomes weak due to the severity of the injury. This condition is often called an incomplete ligament rupture.
Type 3 injury: This type of injury often refers to a complete rupture of the ligament. In this way, the ligament is divided into two perfectly allowed parts, and due to these conditions, the knee joint becomes unstable.
Internal or internal lateral ligaments are more damaged than external lateral ligaments . They are also damaged.
Signs and symptoms
If one or more knee ligaments are damaged, the signs of a cruciate ligament rupture no matter which ligament is injured. In this case, the severity of the symptoms of cruciate ligament rupture depends on the degree of damage to the ligament. For example, a completely torn ligament can have more severe symptoms than a torn ligament.
Symptoms of ligament injury are as follows:
What Are The Symptoms Of A Cruciate Ligament Injury
Often, a cruciate ligament injury does not cause pain. Instead, the person may hear a popping sound as the injury occurs, followed by the leg buckling when trying to stand on it, and swelling. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently.
The symptoms of a cruciate ligament injury may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.
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Causes Of Knee Sprains
Any activity that forces your knee out of its natural position can cause a sprain.
The ACL is often injured when you play a running or contact sport like soccer, basketball, football, or gymnastics, usually as a result of jumping or twisting suddenly.
It can also occur if you over-straighten your knee to an extreme degree or if you get struck by something in the knee or lower leg.
The PCL can be injured in a car collision when your knee hits the dashboard, or in a sport where the front of your knee is hit while its bent. Falling hard on your knee can also cause a PCL sprain.
You can sprain your LCL if you receive a blow to the inside of your knee. This is less common than the other types of sprains because your other leg protects this area.
An MCL sprain is usually caused by something hitting your leg from the side, or a fall that causes your lower leg to twist outward from your thigh.
Four Ligaments Give The Joint Stability
Two collateral ligaments and two cruciate ligaments provide the knee joint with support and protect it from being twisted:
- The medial collateral ligament connects the inner sides of the femur and tibia, and is also attached to the joint capsule.
- The lateral collateral ligament connects the outer sides of the femur and tibia. It is not attached to the joint capsule.
- The anterior cruciate ligament runs from the back of the outer condyle to the front of the tibia.
- The posterior cruciate ligament runs from the front of the inner condyle to the back of the tibia.
The medial and lateral collateral ligaments stabilize the knee when the leg is stretched. The knee can hardly be turned or rotated at all in this position.
When the knee is bent, the medial and lateral collateral ligaments relax, and the cruciate ligaments help to support it. When the knee is turned inwards, the cruciate ligaments wrap around each other to stabilize the joint in the direction its turned in.
Accidents, for instance while skiing or playing soccer, can cause the ligaments to tear. That can result in severe pain and swelling, and abnormal flexibility of the joint in certain directions depending on which ligaments have been damaged.
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Why Might I Need A Knee Ligament Repair
The anterior cruciate ligament is located toward the front of theknee. It is the most common ligament to be injured. The ACL is oftenstretched and/or torn during a sudden twisting motion . Skiing, basketball, andfootball are sports that have a higher risk of ACL injuries.
The posterior cruciate ligament is located toward the back of theknee. It is also a common knee ligament to be injured. However, the PCLinjury usually happens with sudden, direct impact, such as in a caraccident or during a football tackle.
The medial collateral ligament is located on the inner side of theknee. It is injured more often than the lateral collateral ligament ,which is on the outer side of the knee. Stretch and tear injuries to thecollateral ligaments are usually caused by a blow to the outer side of theknee, such as when playing hockey or football.
Early medical treatment for knee ligament injury may include:
A knee ligament tear may be treated with the following:
Protective knee brace
Knee ligament repair is a treatment for a complete tear of a knee ligamentthat results in instability in the knee. People with a torn knee ligamentmay be unable to do normal activities that involve twisting or turning atthe knee. The knee may buckle or give-way. If medical treatments are notsatisfactory, ligament repair surgery may be an effective treatment.
There may be other reasons for your healthcare provider to recommend a kneeligament repair.
Cartilage Of The Knee Joint
There are two main types of cartilage in knee anatomy: articular cartilage and the meniscus.
- Articular cartilage covers the bones’ ends and allows for the bones to slide and glide on each other without friction. This is the stuff you need to keep from getting the creaking and cracking of the joints. When this starts to wear down, arthritis will set in. Sometimes this cartilage is damaged with an ACL tear. The amount of trauma from the ACL injury can lesions to the cartilage of the joint or bones of the knee. This can be addressed during the surgical procedure.
Image of articular cartilage and meniscus
- Meniscus: 2 thick pieces of cartilage that sit on the tibia between the femur and tibia. These are C-shaped that allow for improved congruence of the joint. Tears in these structures can cause pain, swelling, and sometimes catching and locking the knee joint. During surgery, the meniscus can be repaired or debrided. This is usually determined by the age of the patient, where the tear occurred and the amount of damage to the meniscus. To learn more, Read this Article about Meniscus Injuries.
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