Knee Ligament Injuries
Clearwater, Tampa, St Petersburg, Florida
Knee ligament injuries are dreaded by professional and amateur athletes, as well as everyday people alike. The injuries can be painful and debilitating, and can even permanently change your lifestyle.
Knee ligaments are tough bands of tissue that connect the bones of the knee joint. Two important ligaments in the knee, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), connect the thigh bone with the bones of the lower leg. Too much stress on these ligaments can cause them to stretch too far — or even snap. These injuries are common in soccer players, football players, basketball players, skiers, gymnasts and other athletes.
There are four knee ligaments that are prone to injury.
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
- is one of the two major ligaments in the knee. It connects the thigh bone to the shin bone. ACL injuries are a common cause of disability in the knee. In the U.S., 95,000 people get them every year. They are more common in women than men.
- Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)is the second major ligament in the knee connecting the thigh bone to the shin bone.
- Lateral collateral ligament (LCL)connects the thigh bone to the fibula, the smaller bone of the lower leg.
- Medial collateral ligament (MCL)also connects the thigh bone to the shin bone.
What causes a Knee Ligament Injury?
- Twisting your knee with the planted.
- Getting hit on the knee.
- Extending the knee too far.
- Jumping and landing on a flexed knee.
- Stopping suddenly when running.
- Suddenly shifting weight from one leg to the other.
What are symptoms of a Knee Ligament Injury?
- Pain, often sudden and severe.
- A loud pop or snap during the injury.
- A feeling of looseness in the joint.
- Inability to put weight on the point without pain.
If not treated at the time, ACL injuries and other types of knee ligament injuries may act up months or years later. They can make your knee give out when you twist or pivot.
To diagnose an ACL or other ligament injury, your doctor will give you a thorough exam. You may need X-rays, MRI scans, or other tests.
Healing a Knee Ligament Injury
A mild to moderate knee ligament injury may heal on its own given time. To speed the healing, you can:
- Rest the knee. Avoid putting excess weight on the knee. You may need to use crutches for a time.
- Ice the knee to reduce pain and swelling. Ice it for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days, or until the pain and swelling is gone.
- Compress the knee. Use an elastic bandage, straps, or sleeves on the knee to control swelling.
- Elevate the knee on a pillow when sitting or lying down.
- Wear a knee brace to stabilize the knee and protect it from further injury.
- Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like Advil, Aleve, orMotrin, will help with pain and swelling. However, these drugs can have side effects and they should be used only occasionally, unless your doctor specifically says otherwise.
- Practice stretching and strengthening exercises if your doctor recommends them.
For severe collateral ligament tears, surgery may be needed to attach the ligament back to the bone if it was pulled away or to the other part of the ligament if it was torn.
An alternative treatment is the use of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or stem cell therapy. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell therapy are regenerative medicine techniques that may help regenerate the tissues that are chronically irritated and inflamed or undergoing degeneration or scarring.
With platelet-rich plasma therapy, the healing or growth factors in a person’s own blood are captured and injected into the injured area. This may help heal and regenerate the damaged tissue.
Additionally, stem cell technology may help re-grow damaged tissue. Stem cells can be processed from a person’s own fat cells or bone marrow. Once processed, the stem cells are directed into the injured tissue using a variety of techniques.
Platelet-rich plasma and stem cell therapy are innovative and cutting-edge treatment techniques that may help repair chronic or acutely damaged tendon and muscle problems.
If you continue to suffer with a knee ligament injury and your current treatment plan leaves you feeling hopeless, perhaps a fresh set of experienced eyes can change your outlook. Since 1990, Dennis M. Lox, M.D has applied his personal interests in sports medicine, cutting-edge regenerative medicine and chronic pain management to helping patients increase their quality of life. Contact us for an appointment at 727-462-5582.
Dennis M. Lox, MD, and the Florida Spine Center serve patients within the greater Tampa Bay area, including Clearwater, Tampa and St. Petersburg, as well as all of Florida and the US.
All statements, information or opinions provided by this website are provided for educational purposes only. We do not diagnose nor treat through this website or by telephone. As you consider any treatment, discuss them with your physician.
Regarding platelet-rich plasma or stem cell therapy: Neither statements nor treatments have been evaluated by the FDA. We do not claim that these treatments work for any listed or unlisted condition. Patient testimonials offer only the patient’s impression of how a therapy worked for them – individual results will vary; results are not guaranteed nor warranteed. As you consider any treatment, discuss them with your physician.