Lateral Ligament Injury of the Knee, Lateral Ligament Sprain or Strain, Knee Ligament Strain
The knee is not usually immobilised in a plaster cylinder but a long-leg, hinged brace is often used for 4 to 6 weeks. The range of motion of the knee is often kept restricted for a while, because full bend or full straightening of the knee pulls on the lateral ligament.
Treatment for Lateral Ligament Injuries of the Knee
All acute injuries vary but most are managed using the PRICE system.
Grade 1 injury to the ligament
Compression, elevation, and cold therapy (cryotherapy) are standard treatments. Compression may be the most important, limiting a disabling build up of swelling in the knee. Ice or other cold therapy can be used and crutches may be useful for a short time, with the person allowed to weight bear as they can on the leg.
Grade 2 injury
As the ligament has been damaged enough to allow some abnormal movement of the joint, a hinged knee brace can be used to protect the joint from going into the damaged range. The brace is usually locked to prevent the knee straightening more than 20 to 30 degrees from straight but allows full bend. The person may be allowed to bear weight as tolerated, with crutches initially.
Grade 3 injury
Due to the severity of the injury, the person may be non weight-bearing (NWB) on the leg initially. A hinged braced is important to prevent the abnormal joint movement which might occur without protection.