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Understanding and Treating Knee Ligament Injuries

Understanding and Treating Knee Ligament Injuries

In this article, we talk about the various aspects of a knee ligament injury so that you are better informed about the condition. We discuss the causes behind these injuries, ranging from sports-related trauma to everyday accidents. The knee ligament injury treatment options available are also discussed so that you can explore the different types such as conservative approaches like physical therapy  to more complex treatments such as surgical interventions. With this piece of information, you can make an active decision on how to manage your condition and how to seek medical help from professionals. Read on to know more.

Knee ligament injuries can be painful and can take a long time to recover, as they affect most of our daily activities. It is important to learn safe and effective techniques to strengthen your knee, restore mobility, and generally improve flexibility. Understanding these exercises can make a significant difference in your rehabilitation journey, whether recovering from an ACL, MCL, or other ligament injury.

Follow our comprehensive approach,so that you can have a clear path to a healing process but also minimize the risk of future injuries. With step-by-step instructions and expert tips, you'll regain confidence in your knee's stability and functionality. 

Don't let a knee injury hold you back - use this guide to help you understand the various complexities of a knee ligament injury.

What Are Knee Ligament Injuries?

A knee ligament injury is when one of the tough bands connecting your thigh bone to your lower leg bones gets damaged. This often happens during sports or activities that involve sudden stops or twists, causing pain, swelling, and instability in the knee.

Degrees of Ligament Tear

The extent of a ligament tear decides the degree of ligament tear, which is helpful to diagnose and treat in such cases. Based on the amount of tearing and joint stability, ligament tears are typically classified into three grades: mild (grade 1), moderate (grade 2), and severe (grade 3).

Grade 1 Ligament Tear

A Grade 1 ligament tear is the mildest form of ligament injury. It involves stretching or slight tearing of the ligament fibers without significant disruption. While this type of tear may cause some discomfort and mild swelling, it typically allows the joint to maintain stability and function relatively normally.

Grade 2 Ligament Tear

A Grade 2 ligament tear is a moderate injury characterized by partially tearing the ligament fibers. This type of tear usually has a slightly higher level of pain, swelling, and instability than a Grade 1 tear. While the joint may still have some function, it may feel less stable and more prone to giving way. 

Grade 3 Ligament Tear

A ligament tear is categorized as Grade 3 when there is a severe form of injury, involving a complete rupture or tearing of the ligament fibers. This causes significant instability, pain, swelling, and loss of function in the affected joint. In many cases, individuals with a Grade 3 tear are unable to bear weight on the injured limb.  The pain can almost make it impossible to use the joint with rapid swelling and loss of function in the joint. 

Symptoms Ligament Injury

Symptoms of a ligament injury include pain, swelling, bruising, and instability in the joint. Understanding these signs helps differentiate the injury's severity and helps formulate knee ligament injury treatment and rehabilitation plans. Here are some common knee ligament tear symptoms:


Pain in a ligament injury is one of the most common knee ligament tear symptoms. It often shows up as a sharp or dull ache around the affected joint. It may worsen with movement or weight-bearing activities. You may even feel pain when you directly engage that ligament. If you feel pain when you're moving the knee, applying pressure, or touching it, it is a sign that the ligament in your knee is under stress. 

Swelling and Stiffness

Swelling and stiffness indicate inflammation and a limited range of motion in the affected joint. Swelling occurs due to the accumulation of fluid, while stiffness results from decreased joint flexibility. Both could be underlying causes of muscle tear, bone rupture, or injury to tendons and ligaments that increase the stress on the knee joints.

Difficulty walking or standing

Difficulty walking or standing can be a symptom of a knee ligament tear, particularly in cases of moderate to severe injuries. Instability and pain in the knee joint ligaments may make weight-bearing activities challenging, leading to difficulty walking or maintaining a standing position. This often means significant damage to the ligament, and it is advised to see a medical professional for further treatment as soon as possible.

Knee Instability

Knee instability occurs when ligament injuries, such as ACL tears, compromise the joint's stability. This reduces the strength of the knee to hold together when performing activities such as standing, sitting, running, or even walking. The knee is at risk of buckling, resulting in a fall or a balance issue that can be concerning.

Types of Knee Ligament Injuries

Knee ligament injuries commonly involve the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), medial collateral ligament (MCL), and lateral collateral ligament (LCL). ACL injuries often occur during sports, while PCL injuries are less common and often result from direct impact. MCL and LCL injuries typically occur due to sudden twisting or blows to the side of the knee, often in contact sports. All these injuries can happen due to several factors such as sudden impact, poor strength and other reasons.

What is the recovery time for healing torn ligaments?

The recovery time for healing torn ligaments varies depending on the severity of the injury and the individual's overall health. Mild tears may heal within a few weeks with conservative treatment, while more severe ones may require several months or surgical intervention followed by extensive rehabilitation. Proper rest, physical therapy, and adherence to medical advice is important to ensure a steady and consistent recovery

Diagnosing Knee Ligament Injuries

If you have had a situation where you think there is a possible ligament tear in the knee, a diagnosis can help confirm it. A medical professional should be able to perform a physical examination to assess knee ligament tear symptoms, stability, and range of motion. This can be strengthened with imaging tests such as MRI or X-rays to confirm the diagnosis and evaluate the extent of the injury. Specialized tests like stress tests or arthroscopy may also be performed to assess ligament integrity.  All of this helps in getting a correct diagnosis that can ensure that your knee ligament injury treatment plan is strong.

When to Consult a Doctor?

Consult a doctor if you experience severe pain, swelling, or instability in your knee, especially after an injury. Difficulty walking or bearing weight on the affected leg and audible pops or clicks in the knee also require medical attention.Despite care at home, if you are not feeling better, you should reach out to a medical professional, as there could be underlying causes of the injury. In any case, always talk to a medical professional to avoid any unforeseen circumstances that could worsen your ligament tear.

Treatment Options for Knee Ligament Injuries

knee ligament injury Treatment options for knee ligament injuries vary based on the injury, and can follow plans such as  conservative measures like rest, ice, compression, and physical therapy. In severe cases, surgical interventions such as ligament reconstruction may be necessary for optimal recovery.

RICE Method

The RICE method is a common approach for managing knee ligament injuries. It involves Rest to prevent further damage, Ice application to reduce pain and swelling, Compression with bandages or braces, and Elevation of the affected leg to minimize inflammation and promote healing.


Massage therapy works great to improve blood circulation, reduce muscle tension, and alleviate pain for those suffering from a ligament tear. Massages over time help improve flexibility and range of motion while enhancing relaxation and reducing stress on joints and muscles. 

Physical Therapy

Through personalized exercises, manual techniques, and modalities like ultrasound or electrical stimulation, physical therapy gradually works towards restoring strength, flexibility, and function to the injured knee. A skilled physical therapist guides the rehabilitation process, helping patients regain confidence in their knee's stability, improve balance, and carry on with their daily lives. It involves some lifestyle changes and consistent exercises to gradually tone the ligament to its full potential.

What are the Exercises Can I Do With A Damaged Ligament?

If you have a damaged ligament, you can still do exercises to aid in your recovery. Focus on gentle movements that won't aggravate your injury, such as straight leg raises, quad sets, and hamstring curls. As you progress, you can gradually incorporate exercises to improve strength, balance, and flexibility under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Strengthening Exercises

Start with basic exercises like straight leg raises, calf raises, and seated leg presses to strengthen your knee after a ligament injury. As you progress, incorporate more challenging exercises such as squats, lunges, and step-ups. Focus on proper form and control, gradually increasing resistance or repetitions as tolerated. Always talk to a healthcare provider before starting any new exercise regimen.

Isometric Exercises

Isometric exercises involve contracting your muscles without moving your joints. For knee ligament injuries, try quad sets by tightening your thigh muscles while sitting or lying down. Another example is a wall sit, where you press your back against a wall and hold a seated position. Isometric exercises help strengthen muscles around the knee without putting too much stress on the joint.

Range of Motion Exercises

Range of motion exercises aim to improve flexibility and mobility in the knee joint ligaments after a ligament injury. Simple movements like knee flexion and extension, ankle pumps, and heel slides help restore a normal range of motion. Gradually increasing the range of motion over time can prevent stiffness and promote healing. It's important to perform these exercises gently and comfortably to avoid aggravating the injury.

Elastic Band Exercises

Elastic band exercises effectively strengthen the muscles around the knee without

placing excessive strain on the joint. You can perform exercises like leg lifts, side steps, and clamshells to target the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes using resistance bands. These exercises help improve stability and support in the knee, and can be helpful in the long-term rehabilitation from ligament injuries. 

Recover from Knee Ligament Injury with Physiotattva 

At Physiotattva  we offer care through our state-of-the-art facilities, personalized treatment plans, and continuous monitoring. Our team comprises top physiotherapists dedicated to your well-being. Whether you need short-term relief or long-term care, we're here to support you every step of the way. Regain mobility and strength with Physiotattva. Schedule your appointment today.


1. How long does a ligament injury in the knee take to heal?

The healing time for a ligament injury in the knee varies depending on the severity. Mild tears may take a few weeks to months, while severe tears may require several months to heal completely.

2. How can I make my knee ligaments heal faster?

To facilitate faster healing of knee ligaments, follow medical advice, rest, ice the injured area, elevate the leg, engage in gentle exercises recommended by a healthcare professional, and avoid activities that strain the knee.

3. Do knee ligaments fully heal?

Knee ligaments can fully heal with proper treatment and rehabilitation, but the extent of recovery depends on the severity of the injury and individual factors such as age and overall health.

4. Can you still walk with a torn ligament in your knee?

Walking with a torn knee ligament is possible, but it may be painful and unstable, especially with severe tears. Proper diagnosis and treatment are crucial to ensure optimal healing and mobility.

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