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4 Common Knee Injuries – The Difference Between a Torn ACL, MCL, PCL, and LCL

Posted by Renew Physical Therapy Portland on Thursday, April 19, 2018

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There are four main ligaments of the knee:  Anterior Cruciate Ligament, Medial Collateral Ligament, Posterior Cruciate Ligament, and Lateral Collateral Ligament.  Injuries to any of these ligaments are serious conditions that may very well require physical therapy rehabilitation.  Each of these ligaments can sustain injuries with varied consequences; proper diagnosis and treatment are critical for a return to pain-free mobility.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)

The ACL connects the thigh bone to the shin bone.  Common injuries associated with an impaired ACL include:

  • A twist to your knee while your foot remains stationary
  • A sudden stop while running
  • A sudden shift in your weight from one leg to the other

Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL)

The MCL resides on the inside of the knee joint, spanning the end of the thigh bone to the top of the shin bone.  MCL injuries typically occur when the outside of the knee joint is struck, causing the knee to buckle inward.  Additionally, if the MCL is stretched too far, it may tear.

Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL)

The PCL prevents the shin bone from sliding too far backward.  PCL injuries are commonly associated with auto injuries; symptoms of PCL trauma include knee pain, swelling, and decreased motion.

Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL)

The LCL helps to prevent any excessive side-to-side knee joint movement and when the LCL is torn, the knee joint can move too far side-to-side when stressed.

Renew Physical Therapy is proud to serve Portland-area residents suffering from all four common knee injuries. Renew Physical Therapy utilizes several therapeutic modalities to restore pain-free function.

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