Knee Ligament Injuries knee_ligament

There are four ligament categories related to knee ligament injuries:

Anterior Crucial Ligament (ACL) Injury

The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is one of the main support structure of the knee joint.  The ACL is the most common injured ligament in the knee. Injuries to the ACL are typically caused my traumatic events such as collisions in athletics, accidents or severe falls. Patients with ACL injuries often complain of a “pop” sound from inside the joint, immediate, intense pain and a feeling of the knee giving out. Due to strength, size and hormonal factors, females are at increased risk for ACL injuries.

Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) Injury

The lateral collateral ligament (LCL) is one of the four knee ligaments. It spans the distance from the end of the femur (thigh bone) to the top of the fibula (thin, outer, lower leg bone) and is on the outside of the knee. The lateral collateral ligament resists widening of the outside of the joint.  It is injured from a direct force from the side of the knee, causing moderate to severe knee pain which often leads to knee surgery. It is much less frequently injured than the medial collateral ligament (MCL) but commonly occurs with other ligament injuries to the knee.

Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Injury

The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is one of four ligaments that are critical to the stability of the knee joint. A ligament is made of tough fibrous material and functions to control excessive motion by limiting joint mobility. The four major stabilizing ligaments of the knee are the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments (ACL and PCL, respectively), and the medial and lateral collateral ligaments (MCL and LCL, respectively).

The MCL spans the distance from the end of the femur (thigh bone) to the top of the tibia (shin bone) and is on the inside of the knee joint. The medial collateral ligament resists widening of the inside of the joint, or prevents “opening-up” of the knee.

Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Injury

The PCL has been described as one of the main stabilizers of the knee.  It is broader and stronger than the ACL.  It connects the femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (shin bone).  PCL injury commonly occurs in sports such as football, soccer, basketball, and skiing.  A forceful hyperextention of the knee or a direct blow just below the knee cap will disrupt the PCL.  For example, the football player who is tackled with a direct hit to the knee will hyperextend the limb and rupture the PCL.  The basketball player who lands on the court directly on a bent knee will tear his PCL.

Why Dr. Joseph Hecht?

Dr. Hecht is one of Northwest Indiana’s top University-hospital trained joint replacement surgeons, providing superior knowledge and expertise in the area of knee conditions and treatments.

Symptoms

Most patients are able to walk on their injured knee. However, with an acute injury, the knee will likely become swollen and stiff. Symptoms of degenerative tears include chronic pain, stiffness and intermittent swelling. Many meniscus tears cause mechanical symptoms, or catching and locking of the knee.

Diagnosis

These injuries can occur due to a traumatic incident or chronic and degenerative activity.  Dr. Joseph Hecht brings a compassionate and caring approach to every condition and injury assessment.  During your assessment he will perform a thorough evaluation and examination to determine the extent of your injuries, including a complete review of your medical history.

Dr. Hecht may also utilized onsite diagnostic tools such as an MRI, X-ray or CT scan to confirm the extent of your condition.

Treatment

Dr. Hecht, one of the leading knee specialists in Northwest Indiana and University of Chicago Hospital trained orthopedic surgeon, may recommend an arthroscopic technique which is commonly used to repair or replace torn ligaments of the knee. Arthroscopic knee surgery incorporates the use of small poke-hole incisions (portals) around the joint, and the use of a specialized camera (arthroscope) among other specified arthroscopic surgical instruments. The goal of arthroscopic surgery is to repair and restore the joint to optimal strength, while maintaining range of motion. Due to the minimally invasive nature of the arthroscopic technique, damage to surrounding muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves and blood vessels is significantly reduced. Ligament surgery involves the removal of damaged ligament fragments and replacement of the ligament with either the patient’s own soft tissue or tissue from a cadaver; known as an autograft or an allograft respectively. Ligament surgery may either be performed as an outpatient, or inpatient procedure with an overnight hospital stay.