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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.

Full weight-bearing on the leg is usually allowed, and the person sent to physiotherapy for rehabilitation.

Treatment for Lateral Ligament Injuries of the Knee

All acute injuries vary but most are managed using the PRICE system.

Typical treatment recommendations:

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.

LCL injuries are best treated with early range of motion (ROM) and strengthening of the muscles which surround and stabilise the knee. Most people get back to their previous levels of activity or sport. If there is a very slow or difficult progress towards normality, anterior cruciate ligament damage or a meniscal tear should be considered.

 


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