Symptoms of an LCL Knee Injury

Knee InjuryThe lateral collateral ligament (LCL) connects your thighbone to your lower leg bone and helps keep your knee stable. A knee injury to this ligament can make it difficult or nearly impossible to put pressure on the affected knee, depending on how severe the damage is. Minor injuries might respond to nonsurgical measures, such as wearing a brace and doing physical therapy, but major injuries might require surgery to reattach the ligament. The following symptoms are commonly seen in those who have suffered an LCL knee injury.

Instability

LCL injuries typically result in knee instability. When you try to put pressure on your knee, it might feel like it’s going to give out on you.

Pain

Soreness in the affected area is very common and can range from mild to severe, depending on whether you have a minor tear or a completely torn ligament.

Swelling

You might experience swelling in the outer part of your knee, and this area might feel tender to the touch.

Locking

When you have an LCL injury, your knee might feel like it’s locking up on you when you try to walk around on it.

Weakness in the Foot

You might have numbness or weakness in your foot due to stretching or pressure on the peroneal nerve, which runs close to your lateral collateral ligament.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will examine your knee and classify the LCL injury based on certain factors, such as how loose your knee is and how much pain you’re in. An MRI will provide a more accurate assessment of how large the tear is. Your doctor will then talk to you about treatment options, which can range from wearing a brace at home to undergoing surgery to repair the torn ligament.

If you have a knee injury that isn’t getting better with home care, pain medication and physical therapy, orthopedic care might help. Discuss surgical treatment options with an orthopedist to help your knee heal properly, so you can resume your normal activities.

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