What Do Knee Ligament Injuries Feel Like?

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Knee ligament injuries are a common yet complex concern, often resulting from sports activities, accidents, or daily wear and tear. Each ligament injury presents uniquely, with varying symptoms and degrees of severity. Dr. Christie Lehman, a board-certified doctor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Asheville Regenerative Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Asheville, NC, emphasizes that while the appearance and sensation of these injuries can differ, there are innovative nonsurgical therapies available that could help minimize pain and enhance function in cases of a ligament tear.

Maintaining knee stability and mobility

The four primary ligaments in the knee have distinct purposes and vulnerabilities, pivotal in maintaining knee stability and mobility. However, due to their different locations and functions within the knee joint, the nature and symptoms of injuries to each can vary significantly. Let's explore these four types of knee ligament injuries in more detail, examining their unique challenges and the specific symptoms that individuals might experience with each.

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
The ACL is crucial for knee stability, especially in rotational movements. When it tears, individuals often report a distinct popping sound, followed by immediate swelling and a feeling of instability. The knee may feel like it's giving way, especially when changing direction. Pain levels can vary, and in severe cases, surgery might be necessary. However, for partial ACL tears, Dr. Lehman offers orthobiological treatments, such as bone marrow injections, as a less invasive alternative.

Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)
PCL injuries are less common but can be equally debilitating. Typically caused by a direct impact to the front of the knee, this injury often leads to mild pain and swelling. Patients might feel discomfort, particularly when kneeling or crouching. PCL injuries can range from mild to severe, with the more serious cases potentially requiring surgical intervention.

Lateral collateral ligament (LCL)
The LCL, located on the outer side of the knee, is susceptible to injury from direct blows or sudden twists. Patients may experience pain and tenderness along the outer knee, stiffness, and swelling when injured. An LCL tear can also lead to a feeling of instability when walking or changing direction. Complete tears often necessitate surgery, but partial tears may benefit from one of Dr. Lehman's nonsurgical therapies.

Medial collateral ligament (MCL)
Injuries to the MCL, the ligament on the inner side of the knee, commonly occur due to blows to the outer knee. Symptoms include pain and tenderness along the inner knee, swelling, and a sensation of the knee being loose or unstable.

A nonsurgical option for partial knee ligament tears

Bone marrow injections involve using a patient's own bone marrow to help promote the body's natural ability to enhance itself. The benefits of this treatment include:

  • Reduction in pain levels
  • Improvement in knee function
  • Minimized risk compared to surgery
  • Shorter recovery time
  • Stimulation of the body's natural healing response

These injections, particularly beneficial for partial tears to these four knee ligaments, can have long-lasting effects, helping patients regain knee stability and function without invasive surgery.

Reduce knee discomfort in Asheville, NC

Knee ligament injuries manifest in various symptoms, from pain and swelling to instability and loss of function. Dr. Christie Lehman and her team at Asheville Regenerative Orthopedics & Sports Medicine specialize in providing personalized, nonsurgical solutions that can help reduce discomfort and improve knee function. If you're experiencing knee ligament issues, contact Dr. Lehman for her expertise and an evaluation in Asheville, NC, to explore long-lasting nonsurgical treatments tailored to your needs.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.