Ligaments are bands of tough, elastic connective tissue that surround a joint to give support and limit the joint’s movement.When ligaments are damaged, the knee joint may become unstable. Ligament damage often occurs from a sports injury. A torn ligament severely limits knee movement, resulting in the inability to pivot, turn, or twist the leg.There are four main ligaments in the knee that can become injured. During injury, a knee ligament may be stretched (sprained), or sometimes torn (ruptured). Ligament rupture can be partial (just some of the fibres that make up the ligament are torn) or complete (the ligament is torn through completely). Knee ligament injuries can cause pain, swelling, tenderness, bruising and reduced movement of your knee. Your knee joint may feel unstable and you may walk with a limp. Treatment of a knee ligament injury can depend on a number of things including which ligament is injured and how sporty and active you are. Surgery is an option to repair a torn ligament if other medical treatment is not effective.
Ligaments Of The Knee
There are four bones around the area of the knee joint: the thigh bone (femur), the main shin bone (tibia), the outer shin bone (fibula) and the knee cap (patella). But the main movements of the knee joint are between the femur, the tibia and the patella. Tough connective tissue (articular cartilage) lines the ends of the tibia and femur and the back of the patella around the knee joint. The articular cartilage reduces friction between the bones of the knee joint and helps smooth movement between them.Each knee joint also contains an inner and outer meniscus (a medial and lateral meniscus). These are thick rubbery pads of cartilage tissue. They are C-shaped and become thinner towards the middle of the joint. The menisci cartilages sit on top of, and are in addition to, the usual thin layer of articular cartilage which covers the top of the tibia. The menisci act like shock absorbers to absorb the impact of the upper leg on the lower leg. They also help to improve smooth movement and stability of the knee.There are four ligaments around the knee joint. A ligament is a tough strip of connective tissue that joins one bone to another bone around a joint. The knee joint ligaments help to stabilise and support the knee when it is moved into different positions.Each ligament has a different job to do:The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is one of the ligaments on the outside of the knee joint. It runs between the femur and the tibia on the inner side of the knee. It helps to protect and stabilise the knee joint against any blows or forces that may be directed on to the outer side of the knee. It helps to limit the amount that the knee moves from side to side.The lateral collateral ligament (LCL) is the other main ligament on the outside of the knee joint. It runs between the femur and the fibula on the outer side of the knee. It helps to protect and stabilise the knee joint against any blows or forces that may be directed on to the inner side of the knee. This ligament also helps to limit the amount the knee moves from side to side.The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the ligaments inside the knee joint. It runs diagonally connecting the anterior (front) of the tibia to the posterior (back) of the femur. This ligament helps to stabilise the knee joint by controlling backward and forward movements of the knee. It stops the tibia bone from moving forwards in front of the femur.The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is the other ligament inside the knee joint. It also runs diagonally across the knee connecting the back (posterior) of the tibia to the front (anterior) of the femur. The ACL and PCL cross each other inside the knee joint and some people call them the cross ligaments. The PCL helps to control the forward and backward movements of the knee.There are four ligaments around the knee joint. A ligament is a tough strip of connective tissue that joins one bone to another bone around a joint. The knee joint ligaments help to stabilise and support the knee when it is moved into different positions.