If you’ve suffered a knee injury or are experiencing pain and swelling in the joint, it’s possible you have torn one or more ligaments. It’s vital to take quick action if you recognize the signs and symptoms or even suspect you may have suffered a torn ligament. Failing to receive prompt treatment can result in the worsening of damage and a longer recovery period.
Causes of Torn Ligaments in Knees
Ligament injuries are particularly common among those participating in sports or other high-energy activities, such as running and jumping.
The most commonly torn ligament in the knee is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), but other injuries, such as medial collateral ligament (MCL) injuries, may also occur. Your ACL connects your thighbone to your shinbone and stabilizes your knee joint. It is one of two tendons that cross over your knee. Your MCL keeps your shinbone in place and runs in between your shinbone and thighbone.
Torn ligaments typically happen when the knee is twisted or bent in an unusual direction, often with great force. Ligament injuries are not uniform. They can range from mild to severe and even cause arthritis if not treated properly.
If you believe one of your knee ligaments has been stretched or has a tear, it is important to seek medical advice immediately for proper care and treatment of the injury.
Symptoms of a Torn Ligament in the Knee
Knee injuries can be incredibly painful, debilitating and hinder your quality of life. Torn ligaments in the knee come with some very distinct symptoms. One of the most common symptoms is intense pain very close to or around the knee joint.
Oftentimes torn knee ligaments will reduce the strength in the affected leg, causing difficulty walking and moving. Other symptoms include swelling, instability, loss of feeling and potential bleeding from other tissues near the area of injury.
It is important to take symptoms such as these seriously and seek medical help. Failure to do so may result in a lengthier healing process as well as multiple complications down the road.
Diagnosis and Treatment for a Torn Ligament Your Knee
Recognizing something is wrong is an important first step. Too often people with knee injuries assume it’s a minor strain or bruise and fail to seek out a professional diagnosis. If you are experiencing localized pain, swelling, instability or tenderness around the knee joint, it is likely that you have a torn ligament.
Getting an accurate diagnosis from a medical professional through imaging tests such as MRIs can help determine what type of treatment you require.
Once diagnosis is confirmed, treatments for a torn ligament in the knee typically include physical therapy and rest followed by gradually increasing levels of exercise to improve strength, balance and range of motion. For less severe injuries, treatment following the RICE therapy protocol may be effective.
Surgery may be required depending on the severity of the tear but is not always necessary. Your orthopedist will recommend a treatment method best suited to the size and severity of the tear and how fully you want to restore stability after healing. These factors should be discussed with your doctor before commencing any plan.
People who generally aren’t overly active or work sedentary jobs might be best suited for non-invasive, lower-risk treatments while an athlete or professional in a physically demanding field may want to take the treatment approach that offers the fastest and fullest recovery potential.
Can a Torn Ligament Heal on Its Own?
Surgery may not be necessary for a torn ligament, but it is always best to seek professional help if you think you have one. If a ligament doesn’t heal properly, you may experience reduced mobility and stability in the injured knee.
Centennial Orthopedics and Podiatry in Roseburg, Oregon
Torn ligaments in the knee are a very painful injury that can sideline even the most active people. It’s important to get the injury properly diagnosed and treated by a medical professional as soon as possible. The orthopedic team at Centennial Orthopedics and Podiatry is experienced in treating all sorts of knee injuries, so make an appointment today! Call 541.229.2663 and we’ll help you get back on your feet and back to living life the way you want.