I Have Knee Pain – Did I Tear A Ligament?

December 13th, 2018 Becki Andrus

Your knees take on the responsibility of carrying your weight throughout the many movements that you undertake during day-to-day activities. While they usually perform this critical function without issue, you can sometimes experience pain in one of your knees as the result of the wear-and-tear that is associated with these movements.

If you are experiencing pain in your knee, there are a number of reasons why this may be occurring. Among the most common issues in the knee are sprained ligaments, tendonitis, runner’s knee, and meniscus tears. There are also some situations in which a knee injury can develop due to a specific movement that occurred during participation in a sport, or a recreational activity. High profile athletes in professional and collegiate sports sometimes are susceptible to one of these issues taking place, and in many cases, these unwanted situations result in a torn ligament.

However, these specific injuries can also occur to people of any age who engage in sports or various activities. While there are certainly other injury knee injuries that will be discussed in other articles, the focus here will be on injuries to these crucial ligaments in your knee (ACL/PCL/MCL).

The Anatomy Of Your Knees

First, it will be beneficial to examine your knee, before specifically discussing your ligaments. Your knee is one of the body’s more complicated joints, and it is among the largest. Your knee joint is connected to the thigh bone – which is also referred to as the femur – along with the shin bone – which is also called the tibia. Your knee joint also contains the kneecap – which is also referred to as the patella – and the small bone that runs near the tibia called the fibula.

Your knee bones are connected to your leg muscles by tendons that also move the knee joint, and they also have ligaments that supply your knee with stability. You very likely have heard of these particular ligaments. The anterior cruciate ligament or ACL keeps your femur from moving backward on the tibia. The posterior cruciate ligament or PCL does just the opposite in that it prevents the femur from moving forward on the tibia or backward on the femur. Finally, the medial and lateral collateral ligament (MCL) keeps the femur from moving sideways.

Injuries To The Ligaments 

An ACL tear is the most common among the issues that can occur with these ligaments, and it can often require surgery in order to repair it. The problem often surfaces as the result of a sudden change in direction, an immediate stop or pivot of the foot, jumping, or a direct hit to the area. Some of the activities in which this can take place include sports such as football, basketball, tennis, volleyball, skiing, gymnastics, and soccer.

PCL tears do not happen with the same degree of frequency, but they can also create moderate pain, instability, and swelling. A direct hit or fall at the knee can cause this to take place. This can occur when participating in sports, or due to banging your knee on the dashboard during a motor vehicle accident. Fortunately, this injury can often be treated through physical therapy rather than surgery.

A tear in your MCL can cause pain and instability for the inside portion of your knee. Contact sports are often the culprit when a torn MCL takes place, as this is often the result of impact to your outer knee. In many cases, this can happen if another individual bangs into this portion of your knee. MCL tears can be painful and there is often a popping sound and swelling associated with his injury.

When To See A Doctor 

If you have reason to believe that you have experienced any of these ligament tears, you should visit a physician. This is also the case if have not seen any improvement in your level of pain after spending an entire week resting your knee and icing it multiple times each day for at least 20 minutes. Also, if you cannot place any weight on your knee, if you have a fever, or if your knee is red, then it is time to contact a physician.

If you are experiencing any of these scenarios, or any other type of issue or concern with your knee, the highly-trained knee specialists at Orthopedic Associates are always available to assist you. We can offer you the convenience of having our In-house surgery and physical therapy center in one facility, along with on-call availability 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In addition to the injuries of the ACL, MCL, and PCL that were discussed, our experienced professionals can also help with these health issues related to the knee: 

  • Anatomy of the Knee
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear (ACL Tear)
  • Avascular Necrosis (Osteonecrosis) of the Knee
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
  • Fractures of the Tibial Spine
  • Goosefoot (Pes Anserine) Bursitis of the Knee
  • Hamstring Muscle Injuries
  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)
  • Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) Injury
  • Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Injury
  • Meniscus Tear
  • Osgood-Schlatter Disease
  • Osteoarthritis of the Knee
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans of the Knee
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Patella Fracture (Broken Knee Cap)
  • Patella Tendon Rupture
  • Patellar Tendonitis (Jumper’s Knee)
  • Patellar Tracking Disorder
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner’s Knee)
  • Prepatellar Bursitis (Kneecap Bursitis)
  • Quadriceps Tendon Tear
  • Septic Arthritis of the Knee
  • Shin Splints (Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome)
  • Supracondylar Femoral Fracture
  • Tibial Fractures
  • Tibial Plateau Fracture
  • Torn Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL)

Our orthopedics are also highly experienced in performing many types of treatments and surgeries for the knee:

  • Absorbable Antibiotic Bead Treatment for Osteomyelitis
  • ACL Reconstruction
  • Anesthesia
  • Arthroscopic Chondroplasty
  • Aspiration of the Prepatellar Bursa
  • Autologous Chondrocyte Transplantation
  • Bone Cement Injection
  • Cartilage Repair
  • Cold Laser Therapy
  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
  • Fluoroscopic Guided Steroid Injection for Knee Pain
  • Genicular Nerve Ablation (RF Neurotomy)
  • Genicular Nerve Block (G Block)
  • High Tibial Osteotomy
  • Joint Arthroscopy
  • Lateral Release and Medial Imbrication
  • Loose Body Removal (Knee)
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Meniscal Transplant
  • Meniscus Repair (Arthroscopic Technique)
  • Microfracture Drilling Procedure for Isolated Chondral Defect
  • Mini Incision Total Knee Replacement
  • Multimodal Anesthesia and Pain Control
  • Nerve Conduction Study (NCS)
  • OATS Cartilage Repair Surgery
  • OrthoGlide® Medial Knee Implant
  • Partial Knee Replacement
  • Partial Meniscectomy
  • Patellofemoral Replacement
  • Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injection Ove
  • Popliteal Fossa Block
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan
  • Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Reconstruction
  • Radiofrequency Ablation for Osteoid Osteoma
  • Revision Knee Surgery
  • Revision Knee with Tibial Tubercle Osteotomy
  • Stem Cell Therapy for Nonunion Fracture of the Tibia
  • Tibial Osteotomy with Closed Wedge/Open Wedge
  • Tibial Tubercle Osteotomy
  • Total Knee Replacement
  • Ultrasound-Guided Injection for Knee Pain
  • Uni Knee Resurfacing
  • Unicondylar Knee Resurfacing
  • Visco-supplementation for Arthritis of the Knee




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