Perhaps amongst the best known of all sports related injuries are those that affect the ligaments of the knee. This may be because amongst injuries encountered by athletes, knee ligament injuries are some of the most feared because in some cases, they can completely change the lifestyle or physical abilities of the affected individual.
1. Damage to Four Main Ligaments comprise these types of knee injuries, with those affecting the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) being one of the most well known. Other knee ligament injuries affect the three remaining ligaments including the PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), the LCL (lateral collateral ligament, and the MCL (medial lateral ligament). Injuries to these bone connecting tissues involve the stretching of the tissue too far, or it snapping completely. Most of the time, these types of damage occur during periods of exertion in activities like basketball, running, skiing, football and more, although damage to knee ligaments is not limited to basketball injuries and football players alone.
2. Treatment of Knee Ligament Injuries Depends on Many Factors. The extent of the damage is the most crucial, where stretched ligaments are much easier to treat than those that have snapped. Additional factors to consider are the lifestyle of the affected individual and how quickly he or she may want to resume their regular activities, if at all. Lastly, the preferences of the individual may come into play when determining the best way to treat knee ligament injuries, as some more invasive techniques may not be preferred. Regardless, there are some treatment facts to consider any time that an injury to a ligament in the knee is present, and ten of the best of them follow.
3. Correct Diagnosis is Essential: Although some of the symptoms of a snapped knee ligament are easy to identify (a loud, popping noise and sudden, intense pain) not all knee ligament injuries are immediately apparent. Some symptoms of a stretched ligament may not necessarily seem related to ligament damage, and diagnostic testing such as the use of MRI’s may be required. Since appropriate knee pain treatment relies first and foremost on identifying the injury, the simple fact is that it’s much less likely to get better and heal properly if it’s identified and evaluated by a healthcare provider promptly.
4. Mild Injuries Heal: In many cases, damage to the main ligaments in the knee will heal on their own if treated properly at home in time. Home care techniques like resting the knee, icing it, compressing it and elevating it are very useful, and may also help to speed the recovery process. Similarly to the R.I.C.E. method commonly used for runners knee treatment, this combination of injury recovery measures may be more than adequate over a period of days to heal the injury.
5. Alternative Treatments are Available: For people that have an injury to a knee ligament that is not appropriate for surgical repair but that has not been responsive to home treatments, other medical technologies like whole body cryotherapy may be able to help bring pain relief and speed healing. Harnessing the same power of ice baths and cold packs, cryo saunas envelop the entire body except the head with liquid supercooled gases for short periods of time. The process chills the external portions of the body immensely, prompting the body to release beneficial chemicals and start processes required for healing. The procedure is popular in elite sports therapy and with a wide variety of athletes who find that it’s a safe, effective and comfortable way to speed recovery from performance and injuries, too.
6. It May not be Just the Ligaments: Knee ligament injuries are not uncommon, but something else that is not uncommon may be overlooked in some individuals. Sometimes, damage to the ligaments that are found in the knee can also come with other related injuries such as those to the meniscus that can not only change the types of treatment used, but also affect healing and recovery time.
7. Support Devices Can Reduce Pain and Prevent Further Injury: Though compresses can help to reduce pain and swelling, both crutches and braces can also be useful treatment tools for knee ligament injuries. One of the most common symptoms of damage to ligaments in the knee is an inability to put weight on the affected leg, and crutches can be very useful in these cases. Braces and straps can help provide support and prevent unnatural movement in the knee, which is helpful since knee ligament injuries can come with a feeling of looseness as well. Both types of devices are also incredibly useful in preventing further injury which can dramatically increase healing time or further complicate treatment measures.