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A Closer Look at Knee Ligaments and Injuries

Knees are a very vulnerable part of our bodies.  Knee injuries are common because they are a major contact point during accidents, and they are a weight bearing joint prone to wear and tear.   Any direct contact to the knee can cause one or more ligament injuries.  Other sudden movements, like twisting the body while the knee stays in place can also cause injuries.
Degrees of Injury
Any injury to the knee ligament is considered a sprain.  There are varying degrees of sprains based on how badly the ligaments are damaged.

  • Level 1 sprain – This would be considered mild damage, just a slight stretching of the ligaments.  The knee is still stable and able to function.
  • Level 2 sprain – This would be a partial tear of the ligament.  With this kind of injury the ligament is stretched and loose.  The knee is less stable but can still bear some weight and function.
  • Level 3 sprain – This is the worse type of sprain, with a complete tear in the ligament. The knee would become completely unstable with this type of tear as the ligament is literally in two pieces.

Recovery
The first two types of ligament sprains can often repair on their own.  Heat and ice treatments can be applied for swelling, and resting the joint is recommended.  The third type of sprain requires surgery to repair and recovery time can be lengthy.
In the past a complete tear in the ligament would mean that the knee would probably never function completely normally again.  However, with recent advances and improvements in surgery techniques, people with this kind of injury can and do return to normal activities.

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