Knee trauma can affect all age groups, but athletes and workers who have to constantly endure excessive load to the knee are more affected.
Ligaments are bands of connective-fibrous tissue which join the ends of two bones or two parts of the same bone. In the knee, there are four main ligaments: the lateral and the medial ligaments which prevent excessive lateral movement of the knee; and two cruciate ligaments, anterior and posterior, which form an X in front of and behind the knee and enables the movement of the knee. Their job is to stabilize the joint and prevent the bone components from losing their proper alignment.
When a ligament is torn, the pain is immediate, localized and acute. The knee ‘snaps’, followed by a feeling of sagging, swelling and difficulty in walking.
As soon as possible in order to assess the extent of the damage.
An accurate clinical evaluation is required to identify the location of the ligament damage such as a radiography exam to rule out fractures and/or an MRI to assess the extent of ligament damage. These exams will help to formulate a treatment plan.
Keep the knee at rest, walk with the help of a cane or crutches based on pain level, apply ice (not in direct contact with the skin), take painkillers, and stabilize the joint with a knee brace if the feeling of instability is not tolerable.
For mild and moderate injuries, the protection protocol is implemented (rest, ice, compression, and gentle lifting of the leg), and if necessary, the usage of a brace is recommended to immobilize the knee with the use of crutches over a period to be evaluated by a specialist.