An Overview on Multi-Ligament Knee Injuries
The knee is composed of four main ligaments that help stabilize the joint and provide the function required for everyday activities and sports activities. The four ligaments of the knee work together to prevent unnatural, excessive movement between the tibia and femur. When a torn ligament in the knee occurs, the knee loses its natural ability to function. Chicago, Westchester, Oak Brook and Hinsdale, Illinois area knee specialist, Dr. Nikhil Verma helps active individuals return to the activities they love following multiple knee ligament injuries.
The four main ligaments of the knee include:
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
- Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)
- Medial collateral ligament (MCL)
- Lateral collateral ligament (LCL), or fibular collateral ligament (FCL)
The majority of knee ligament injuries involve a single torn ligament in the knee, but in certain cases multiple ligaments can be damaged during the same traumatic event. Multi-ligament knee injuries occur as extreme trauma from a fall from a height, automobile accident or a direct blow to the knee during sports. When more than one torn ligament in the knee occurs, the joint becomes unstable and is at an increased risk of another serious knee injury. When multiple ligaments of the knee are damaged, the knee can move out of joint and injure the nearby arteries and nerves.
Symptoms of Multiple Knee Ligament Injuries
Pain, swelling, deformity and instability following an acute trauma are the hallmark symptoms of multiple knee ligament injuries. The ligaments of the knee are not functioning properly so patients may experience knee instability and walking may be difficult, if not impossible. If more than one torn ligament of the knee occurs, a patient may experience injury to the nerves and blood vessels, leading to numbness, tingling or weakness. In most cases, an emergency room evaluation is required due to the severity of the injury.
Diagnosis of Multiple Knee Ligament Injuries
If more than one torn ligament in the knee occurs, it is critical to seek medical care immediately because of the increased risk of injury to the neurovascular structures of the leg. If the knee has been dislocated, it will be placed back into the joint (reduced) upon arrival at the ER. Once the knee is in correct position, Dr. Verma will be able to perform a thorough physical examination to determine the full extent of injury. An MRI will be performed in most cases so he can view the entire knee anatomy and determine the affected ligaments of the knee.