Ligament injuries

Torn ligament

Torn ligaments come from sports injuries and cause severe pain and swelling to the joint.

About ligament injuries

Ligaments are tough, flexible tissues which connect one bone to another bone and hold them in place. When too much force is applied to a ligament, it can become injured or torn. This makes the joint unstable.

Need to know

  • What are the symptoms of a ligament injury? icon plus

    Sports injuries often cause torn ligaments, mainly in the knees and ankles. The main ligaments in your knees are the anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), the medial co-lateral ligament (MCL) and the lateral co-lateral ligament (LCL). These connect the thigh bone with the bones of the lower leg and can be twisted or torn when jumping and landing on a bent knee.
    General symptoms are:

    • A popping or snapping sound at the time of injury
    • Pain
    • Rapid onset of swelling
    • A feeling of instability or unsteadiness after the injury
    • Knee stiffness
  • Diagnosing a ligament injury icon plus

    Following a painful knee injury, you may need to be seen at an Emergency department, and urgent care centre or by your GP urgently. Here you are assessed, and the first priority is to exclude any broken bones (fracture) or other problems requiring urgent care. Should a specialist assessment be required, this can be arranged soon thereafter.
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Treatment starts with Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation (R.I.C.E), to reduce the swelling and pain. For specific types of injury, you may be fitted with a knee brace to support the ligaments while they heal. The most common ligament injury is damage to the MCL.

    This may be treated by a period in a knee brace, crutches and physiotherapy. Your consultant will discuss any further treatment options with you. These may depend on how stable your knee feels, your day-to-day function, and your sporting profile. 

Our orthopaedic consultants

We're proud to work with leading orthopaedic experts specialising in ligament injuries with can occur in the knee or ankle, and whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our locations

From complex orthopaedic surgery to diagnostic tests and procedures, we provide exceptional musculoskeletal care, including physiotherapy, across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

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020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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