Lateral Collateral Ligament Knee Injury: Orthopedic Frisco

by Administrator 24. December 2016 10:17

Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that joint the bones in the human body. The knee joint is stabilized by four major ligaments and the Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) is one of them. It lies on the outer side of the knee joint and connects the lower end of the femur (thigh bone) to the fibula (lower leg).

The LCL injury may vary from a mild stretch (sprain) to partial tears and complete ruptures. This injury can occur in any person irrespective of the age and gender. The outwards location of the LCL ligament makes it prone to injuries. Minor sprains tend to heal quickly with conservative methods but serious ruptures or tears make the joint unstable and it remains prone to such injuries in the future.

Causes

  • Direct hit or injury to the inner part of the knee joint which in turn pressurizes he outer LCL ligament
  • Sport activities that involve a lot of running and sudden directional changes such as soccer
  • Not warming up adequately before exercising or lack of muscle conditioning
  • Improper alignment of the muscles and bones may lead to ligament injuries during simple activities such as walking or climbing stairs
  • Falling on the knee
  • Collisions in sports or vehicular accidents

Symptoms

  • Mild knee ligament sprains are generally not accompanied by any symptoms in most cases. However, the partial tears and complete ruptures may have the following symptoms.
  • Stiffness of the joint
  • Swelling in the knee joint
  • Limited range of motion is intact
  • Weakness and instability is felt in the joint
  • The feeling of joint locking or catching may occur
  • Pain which varies from mild persistent ache to sharp severe ache

Diagnosis

  • Detailed clinical evaluation of the injured knee through visual observation and palpation
  • The patient is asked to move the leg and knee in different directions to check for movements that aggravate the symptoms and assess the range of motion intact
  • X-ray imaging may be required in most cases
  • MRI scan reveals the severity of damage to the ligaments and other soft tissues in the knee

Treatment

  • Splinting or use of a knee brace
  • Application of ice packs at regular intervals within first 72 hours of injury
  • Prescription of pain killers and anti inflammatory medicines
  • Resting the injured knee or leg in an elevated position is recommended. Any activity that involves weight bearing or knee movement should be avoided until the swelling subsides
  • Physical therapy sessions aimed at strengthening the supporting muscles and improving joint flexibility
  • Complete tears of the LCL ligaments require surgical intervention. The ligament may either be stitched back or removed and replaced by a ligament graft
  • The patient may be asked to use taping or bandage techniques while exercising or playing a sport to give the joint support post surgery

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