If you often run or play sport, you could be putting your knees through a lot of punishment that, ultimately, leads you to pick up a knee ligament injury. This is where, by putting these ligaments under too much stress, you excessively stretch – or even snap them.
This can be seriously problematic, given not only the pain that can immediately result from the injury but also the trouble that can linger for months or even years afterwards. So, what can you do to help yourself begin the road to recovery from such an injury?
The initial steps towards recovery
Bones in your body are connected by ligaments, which are tough pieces of tissue. Your knee’s two most vital ligaments are the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL); these connect your thigh bone with your lower leg’s bones. Two other injury-prone ligaments in the knee are the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and lateral collateral ligament (LCL).
Should you suffer a rupture to your ACL, you might be immediately taken to an A&E department, says the BootsWebMD website. However, should your symptoms be less severe and so you initially visit your doctor instead, they might still suspect an ACL injury – leading to your speedy referral to an orthopaedic surgeon. Injury to that ACL or another ligament may soon be diagnosed.
How to treat a mild to moderate injury
If the injury is mild to moderate, it might heal itself, given sufficient time. There are various means through which you can speed up that healing. The Patient website effectively summarises these techniques as “paying the PRICE” and “do no HARM”.
Yes, those two capitalised words are acronyms. PRICE is about protecting the knee from additional injury, resting the knee over 48 to 72 hours, applying ice for 10-30 minutes, compressing with a bandage to restrict swelling, and elevating the knee with the same aim.
Meanwhile, during the 72 hours post-injury, you should avert HARM. That includes heat, such as from hot baths and saunas; alcoholic drinks, as these can worsen bleeding; running or alternative forms of exercise that could inflict further damage; and massage, which could also make bleeding worse. Nonetheless, after 72 hours, heat and massage may actually soothe the knee.
What if the injury is more serious?
If one of your collateral ligaments has been severely torn, whether in the middle or from the bone, then surgery may be necessary for reattaching the ligament. However, if one of your cruciate ligaments – the ACL or PCL – has been stretched beyond its limit or entirely torn, this damage can’t be repaired. It would remain possible for you to arrange for an ACL to be reconstructed.
ACL reconstruction surgery is one of various treatments that London’s Highgate Private Hospital offers for knee injuries. ACL reconstruction surgery is complicated; however, this hospital has two sophisticated theatres and thoroughly trained theatre and nursing staff, allowing for treatment of a first class standard. Call 020 8341 4182 to book an appointment at this hospital.