Your knee is the largest joint in your body, which makes it vulnerable to injury and other problems. Sports, exercise and general wear and tear can cause muscle strains, tendinitis and more serious injuries — including ligament tears. Without proper treatment, knee injury can lead to long-term knee pain and instability.
If a severe knee injury is keeping you from your active life, consulting a specialist may be your best solution. At Illinois SW Orthopedics, our specialists can diagnose your condition and offer treatment options. We also specialize in arthroscopic knee ligament repair, a minimally invasive option that may be able to help get you back to the things you love.
About Knee Ligament Injuries
There are four major ligaments in the knee — tough bands of connective tissue that stabilize the joint:
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL): Controls rotation and forward movement of the tibia (shin bone). The ACL is the most commonly injured ligament, accounting for more than 40% of all sports injuries.
- Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL): Controls backward movement of the tibia (shin bone). PCL injuries typically happen with direct, sudden impact, such as in a car accident.
- Medial collateral ligament (MCL): Gives stability to the inner knee. Injuries are often caused by blows to the knee.
- Lateral collateral ligament (LCL): Gives stability to the outer knee. LCL injuries can occur with sharp changes in direction.
For mild or partial ligament tears, Illinois SW Orthopedics’ specialists usually first recommend nonsurgical options, including rest, medication, physical therapy or knee bracing, which may allow the joint to heal over time. But, if the ligament is completely torn and limits even basic moments, surgery may be the best option for longer-term stability and relief.
Arthroscopic Knee Repair
The good news is that orthopedic specialists can diagnose and repair most knee ligament injuries arthroscopically. This minimally-invasive technique uses tiny tools and a camera inserted through a few small incisions around the joint to assess the damaged area. During the procedure, the surgeon removes the torn knee ligament and replaces it with a healthy tendon (called a graft), from somewhere else in your body or from donated tissue. This procedure has proven to be highly successful in returning stability and motion to the knee, and reducing pain. Be sure to talk to your orthopedic specialist about the details of what will happen during the procedure and what kind of results can be expected.
Knee arthroscopy often offers many benefits compared to open surgery, including:
- No cutting of muscles or tendons
- Minimal damage to surrounding soft tissues
- Less post-operative pain
- Less scarring
- Fewer complications
- Faster and more comfortable rehabilitation
- Quicker recovery and return to regular activities
At Illinois SW Orthopedics arthroscopy is normally performed on an outpatient basis, allowing patients to leave the hospital the same day and recover comfortably at home.