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What is a multiple knee ligament injury?

A ligament is a strong cordlike structure that connects bone to bone. There are four main ligaments in the knee:
  • Medial collateral ligament
  • Lateral collateral ligament
  • Posterior cruciate ligament
  • Anterior cruciate ligament
It is possible to damage a single knee ligament, but with more serious injuries you may experience a multiple knee ligament injury. Physiotherapy is an important treatment for a multiple knee ligament injury.

How does a multiple knee ligament injury happen?

If your leg is forced sideways whilst the knee is in a twisted position, this may cause more than one ligament in the knee to become damaged. This is most common in contact sports such as rugby, football and hockey.

Therapist performing knee assessmentAbove: Therapist performing knee assessment

What are the symptoms of a multiple knee ligament injury?

You may hear a popping or snapping sound when you initially injure your knee ligament. You will notice swelling around the area and if the damage is serious, your knee joint will feel unstable. If local blood vessels have been damaged, there may be bruising. Your knee will be very painful and you will find it difficult to move. Additional symptoms could include:

What should I do if I have a multiple knee ligament injury?

It is important that you apply ice to the area as soon as possible as this will reduce any swelling and help minimise your pain levels. You should also elevate the leg to further reduce the swelling and limit the amount of weight that you place through the leg until you have received a professional assessment. You should see a physiotherapist as soon as possible to begin your rehabilitation.

What shouldn’t I do if I have a multiple knee ligament injury?

During the first 24-48 hours, you should not carry out any activities that will increase the blood flow to the knee joint. This includes heat packs, massage, increase activity and consuming excess alcohol.

Specialist physiotherapist applying supportive tape to the kneeAbove: Specialist physiotherapist applying supportive tape to the knee

Physiotherapy treatment for a multiple knee ligament injury.

Your physiotherapist will be able to carry out a comprehensive assessment to provide you an accurate diagnosis of your injury. This may include a referral for additional tests such as X-rays, ultrasound and MRI scans. There are a number of treatment options that your physiotherapist may decide to use in your rehabilitation programme. These include a home exercise programme, electrotherapy and massage. Other physiotherapy treatments may include:

Could there be any long-term effects from a multiple knee ligament injury?

The duration of your recovery will depend on which ligaments have been damaged and the severity of the injury. It could take from several weeks up to a year for you to return to your sport or hobbies. A tailored physiotherapy programme will minimise the risk of any long term complications with your knee injury.

To arrange a physiotherapy appointment call on 0330 088 7800 or book online.

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