Sports injuries of the knee are common and the knee is the most injured joint in the body.
Acute injuries can include minor sprains, meniscal tears, articular cartilage injuries, fractures, ligament tears such as ACL injury, or a combination of these including multi-ligament injuries.
If your knee swells immediately or soon after an injury, there is the possibility that you have sustained a significant injury. We would recommend that you rest and ice the knee but also that you seek the assessment and advice of a knee specialist.
Many injuries can be managed non-operatively but early diagnosis, often with the assistance of x-rays and a MRI scan, and prompt treatment is sometimes critical.
Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Injury
Injuries to the medial (inner) side of the knee are the most common knee ligament injuries. The usual mechanism is a contact or non-contact valgus force, where the leg below the knee is forced in an outward direction.
The main anatomical structures on the inner side of the knee that can be injured are the superficial and deep medial collateral ligaments and the posterior oblique ligament.
You will experience pain and swelling on the inside of the knee, sometimes with a feeling that it could give way.
The majority of MCL injuries can be treated non-operatively usually with a protective knee brace and a physiotherapy-led rehabilitation programme. There are some cases where surgery may be recommended.
Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Injury
The PCL is the largest and strongest intra-articular ligament of the knee joint. It is the main restraint to posterior translation of the tibia.
Injuries occur when your knee is bent and your shin is forced back by a sports injury, a fall or as may occur in a car accident dashboard injury.
Non-operative treatment is often appropriate for isolated acute PCL tears because of the inherent healing capacity. Early dynamic PCL bracing can help keep your knee in its normal position so that the PCL does not heal in a lax position.
Surgery is sometimes indicated, especially if you have injured multiple ligaments or if you are still experiencing instability problems despite non-operative treatment.