Ligaments: Support for Your Knees
Your knees are mobile joints that allow you to walk, climb, sit, and kneel. Ligaments stabilize your knee joints for these movements. When you injure a ligament, it may feel as though your knee won't even hold you up. Fortunately, you and your health care team can work together to return you to an active lifestyle.
Torn Ligaments: Two ligaments in your knees are most likely to be injured. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is in the center of your knee. It is often injured by a twisting motion, such as losing control of your skis or falling off a ladder. The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is on the inside of your knee. It can be injured by a blow from the side. This is common in contact sports such as football or soccer. Injury to either ligament causes pain and weakens your knee joint. Without treatment, you may develop other problems.
A Sudden Twist
Your ACL can be injured when you twist your knee beyond its normal range of motion. When you're on skis, for instance, and "catch an edge," this causes you to twist your lower leg outward or inward. You might hear or feel a pop, and your knee may give way; Pain and swelling result. A complete tear of the ACL is like rope fibers coming apart. A partial tear can also occur. Other parts of the knee may be injured at the same time that you injure the ACL.