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Torn Knee Ligaments : Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Sunday, July 1st 2012. | Bone Health

Torn Knee Ligaments Definition

For maximum stability, the knee needs a muscle, tendons and ligaments (lateral ligaments and cruciate ligaments). The lateral ligaments are essential in the lateral stability. Ligament injuries usually occur during the practice of a sport like skiing and football: the ligaments are torn when the joint is twisted.

Often the internal ligament or ligaments are affected by the injury, it is rare that this phenomenon affects the external ligament. And as the ligament is connected to the internal meniscus, the latter tears at the same time.

In this clinical picture we describe the injuries of the lateral ligaments; the Kreuzband-Verletzungen (cruciate ligament injuries) and injuries of the meniscus will be described separately.

Torn Knee Ligaments Causes

Skiing and football are two sports that cause most cases of ligament injuries: the ligaments are torn during twisting of the joint.

Torn Knee

Torn Knee Ligaments Disorders (symptoms)

We often speak of a ligament rupture – there is a snap. Almost all wounds closed due to a sport on the musculoskeletal system are accompanied by bleeding into the tissues – with bruising.

Other symptoms:

  • Immediate pain and usually very intense after the accident
  • During distension and also at a torn ligament, the pain may come and go during certain movements or during normal operation.
  • Loss of strength, mobility limitation, joint instability up to the inability to move (especially combined with injuries of ligaments)
  • Swelling, sensation of compression
  • Most of the time there is bleeding into the tissue, resulting in bruises. If the hematoma is very visible one can conclude that there is a torn ligament and therefore that the structure of the joint capsule and ligaments are affected.

Torn Knee


Examinations (diagnosis)

There are different tests that will allow the doctor to know which ligament is reached. In case of internal tearing of the ligaments is typically the knee side inclined towards the outside. Radiographs reveal whether there are any bone injuries. MRI or CT scan will be performed only if there is distension or in case of suspicion of injury to bones or the meniscus.

Treatment Options

Emergency treatment

The first treatment, which if possible should be done at the scene of the accident, AGCE follows the pattern :

  • A break – immediate termination of sport
  • G-ice cooling of the wound, since this is a closed wound (no open wound), attention: do not place ice directly on skin, risk of cold injury.
  • C Compression – bandage to prevent swelling and to check regularly.
  • E elevation – in case of injury involving the extremities (arms, legs), the flow of blood and deflation are facilitated by an elevated position.


Unlike the torn cruciate ligaments, tearing and stretching of the ligament internal require a conservative treatment, that is to say without an operation.

All measures aimed at reducing pain and swelling. To stabilize the joint and reduce swelling, are used to support dressings, bandages or splints synthetic.


  • Analgesics

Physical Measurements

Once the swelling and pain are eliminated, rehabilitation can be established: first it is imperative to strengthen the thigh muscles and improve mobility.

Sports where there is stress on the knee, can be resumed after two weeks at least. For at least six months the patient must wear a suitable joint (for example an adhesive bandage or a knee stabilization with lateral ligament) while playing a sport.

Possible Complications

The simple distension is usually heal within two weeks. If the capsular ligaments are torn, the stability is related to healing (healing). In case of insufficient stability, should be considered an operation / suture. By cons, if the injury is simple, full recovery is possible sport after two weeks.

Preventive Measures

Solid muscles and a warm up before any sports activity significantly reduces the risk of knee injury. Heavy demands for sports knee joint (eg. Skiing, soccer), adapted bandages protect and support the knee.

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