Managing knee ligament injuries

Did you know that knee injuries account for a third of all ski injuries? If you plan on hitting the slopes this season, it’s important to be aware of how the knee works in order to reduce the risk of injuring your knee ligaments.  

In this post, we provide helpful information on the anatomy of the knee, as well as how our professional physiotherapists can help you safely manage your sports injury in Twickenham

Please bear in mind that although the information and tips in this blog are helpful when managing knee ligament injuries, for specific advice and guidance, please contact a physiotherapist for a professional assessment.

Understanding the anatomy of the knee 

Your knee is the joint where the bones of your lower and upper legs meet, and is the largest joint in the body. It consists of three bones: the femur, tibia and patella. 

There are four main ligaments which connect the bones of your knee joint:

  • anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
  • posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)
  • medial collateral ligament (MCL)
  • lateral collateral ligament (LCL).

Injury to the ligaments can occur when stress causes them to overstretch or snap. Remember that ligaments are not the only structures that can be injured in and around the knee.

Skiing and your knee 

Skiing is an exciting but inherently risky sport. Even the most experienced skiers need to be careful when racing down a slope. When skiing, you may injure your knee ligament by:

  • overextending the knee
  • bending the knee sideways
  • twisting the knee suddenly 
  • direct impact to the knee

What to do after your injury 

After injuring your knee ligaments, you will likely notice sudden swelling and pain. Movement will probably be restricted and you may struggle to bear weight. At the time of the injury, you may hear a snap or popping sound. 

How you choose to manage your ligament injury will depend on the ligament involved, as well as the severity of the injury. Signs of a more serious injury include severe swelling and trouble walking. In these cases, it’s important to go to your local A&E department for further assessment. 

You should follow the RICE principle. 

  • Rest
    During the first 48 hours, rest the affected knee. This may mean using crutches to avoid putting any weight on your leg.

  • Ice
    Applying an ice pack on the affected area can help reduce inflammation and swelling. Be sure to avoid putting ice directly on the skin as this can damage it. Ice the affected area for no more than 10 minutes at a time.
  • Compression
    Elastic compression bandages can help prevent additional swelling. Make sure you remove the bandages before going to sleep. 
  • Elevation
    Reclining when you rest and ensuring your leg is higher than the level of your heart can help to reduce swelling.

How can physiotherapy help?

Physiotherapy can help you get back on your feet as quickly as possible by regaining full movement of your knee and strengthening the surrounding muscles that support your knee. 

Our experienced physiotherapists will start with an assessment of your injury. They will then use a combination of hands-on techniques, including manipulation, mobilisation, muscle energy and soft tissue techniques, to help you recover movement and reduce pain. 

Get in touch

Are you recovering from a knee ligament injury from skiing or another sport? We can help you manage and treat your sports injury. To speak to one of our expert physiotherapists, please give us a call on 020 8898 1231.