A knee ligament injury can be severe, and it could put you on the sideline for a long time. Knee ligament injuries often require extensive rehab to come back from. Luckily studies, treatments, surgeries rehabs, and preventative exercises have all gotten better over the years and have produced quicker recoveries as a result.
A huge factor in the success of healing a knee ligament injury is getting with the right healthcare provider. This is NOT an injury that you want to rehab on your own. You need the guidance of a professional because if it is not done well, it can lead to future injuries or never being able to regain athletic performance.
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the most commonly injured knee ligament. It connects the thigh bone to the shin bone.
Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) also links the thigh bone to the shin bone in the knee. (It’s rarely injured except in car accidents).
Lateral collateral ligament (LCL) connects the thigh bone to the fibula, the smaller bone of the lower leg on the outer side of the knee.
Medial collateral ligament (MCL) links the thigh bone to the shin bone on the inside of the knee.
What Does This Injury Feel Like?
- Loud pop or snap during injury
- Sudden pain
- Knee feeling unstable
- Inability to put weight on the knee
*WARNING – These injuries need immediate medical attention, and they often require surgery.
Diagnosis of Knee Ligament Injury
Physical therapists and athletic trainers know the correct tests to perform to check for tears. If you go to a hospital and get an MRI, they will be able to tell you for sure what the state of your knee is in. You will need an X-ray to make sure matters are not worse with a broken bone as well. There are special tests that can be done to help diagnose the injury but getting an MRI is the only guaranteed way to know.
Treatment of Knee Ligament Injury
If you have a knee ligament injury, it can heal on its own without surgery, but it is going to require some time off.
Rest – Stay off of your feet as much as possible.
Light Massage – Can work to push out swelling, especially if surgery is required as the surgery often can’t be completed until the swelling goes down. Do not do this massage on your own, let a professional handle it if they best see fit.
Ice Your Knee – Right after injury for up to a week at most, it can be helpful to ice your knee for 20 minutes 4 hours apart.
Elevate your knee– As well as staying off of your feet, raising your feet above your heart to help drain some of the swellings.
Wear a Knee Brace – A Physical therapist will often make this suggestion. A lot of athletes hate having to wear the brace but it is important because the knee brace will prevent further injury on an unstable knee.
Light Excercise – If prescribed by your medical team, it may be right to begin doing some light stretches and start strengthening muscles around the knee. Do not begin this step until you have been instructed to do so.
Prevention of Knee Ligament Injury
If you play any contact sport, it is impossible to prevent a knee injury with 100% certainty. Sometimes the contact puts you, and someone else in dangerous positions and these things happens. You could get tackled, slid into or make an awkward cut and suffer a knee injury. T0 make it less likely you can do the following:
- Keep your thigh muscles strong
- Warm up properly
- Always maintain a stretching routine to stay flexible
- Make changes slowly to intensity and volume
- Jump with proper form and knee position
- Squat with appropriate form and knee position
- Strengthen calf muscles to strengthen back of the knee
What If It Is Not Working On Your Own?
Sometimes you need the help of a sports medicine provider and with knee injuries that is usually the case. Sports medicine providers are used to working with athletes that need to get results quickly, to get back on the field. If you are not an athlete, I am sure that you still want quick results.
There are many different options you can go with when looking for a provider. You could get a chiropractor, massage therapist, physical therapist or many other options. The key is finding someone you trust and that you are excited to work with. A physical therapist is going to do the bulk of the rehab but that does not mean that there is no need for any other forms of treatment.
How to Find The Best Healthcare Providers
Kho Health is the best place to find the health care providers you need for any injuries. It does not matter where you are hurting; a Kho Health provider will be able to get you healthy again. Kho allows you to find the best local providers and compare them quickly using the Kho Number.
If you have no idea what you need, but you know you need something, Kho Health is an injury guide, and you will get helped through the process. We make it easier for you to find the information and the person you are looking for to help with your knee ligament injury.
- Injury App to Ask Any Injury Questions You Have
- Reasons You’re Getting Injured
- Building Your Stretching Routine
Bonus Tip: Surviving Knee Ligament Injury Rehab
Rehabbing any injury can be tough, but a knee ligament injury rehab can be grueling. For many athletes, it can take anywhere from 4-12 months to fully recover from the injury, surgery and then get back to feeling normal again. Any injury that can take a year is going to test you mentally. The first thing you should do when going into this process is to expect difficulty. The worst thing you can do is expect it to be easy. Expect difficulty and prepare your mind and body for that and it will actually make it easier.
The second thing you need to do is change your habits. If you have good habits, you will do what needs to be done whether you feel like it or not. If you rely on your feelings, the second you don’t feel like rehab or eating better, or getting rest you will just not do it. You have to let your actions determine your feelings and not the other way around.