Tear of the outer belt
If the knee is stretched excessively during an accident, the outer ligament may tear. This may be completely severed or partially torn. Typical stabbing pain when pressure is applied and movement of the affected region occurs here in addition to instability of the knee.
In contrast to ligament strain, lateral stability is no longer given, which the orthopaedic surgeon can determine by means of specific hand movements. An attempt is made to “unfold” the knee towards the outside when the leg is stretched. If this is facilitated in contrast to the normal condition, the ligament may be torn. An MRI examination can then provide clear confirmation. Theoretically, an invasive endoscopy of the knee joint (“arthroscopy“) is also possible for diagnosis, but it is more likely to be used for injuries to the cruciate ligaments.
Therapy for outer ligament injuries
Therapy for injuries to the outer ligament of the knee varies depending on the degree of injury. If the ligament is overstretched or slightly torn, it is often only necessary to protect the affected joint by stabilizing it until the injury has healed. Depending on the duration of the healing process, the muscles involved then require targeted reconstruction.
In theory, this healing process does not take longer than two weeks. If, for example, there is a complete rupture of the outer ligament, further differentiation is necessary. If the joint is still stable, conservative treatment can also be used in the form of stabilization with a splint for up to 6 weeks.
If there is a more serious injury, in which other parts of the knee and bone are also damaged and make the knee joint unstable, surgery is often performed and the ligament is reattached. The so-called “taping” also offers a therapeutic or preventive method. It should always be discussed with a specialist beforehand.
Taping is widely used in sports medicine and has several functions simultaneously. It protects individual joints from excessive movement and overstretching, while it provides compression and stabilisation of the affected joint region in the case of existing injuries. Basically, these are merely inelastic adhesive bandages which are stuck to the skin on the outside. The doctor or the patient can do the taping himself thanks to precise instructions.
Prognosis of an injury to the outer ligament
The prognosis for both an outer ligament strain and a rupture is very good after treatment. Normally, after complete healing, the joint should be fully usable again. Swelling and pain as well as instability should have completely receded. (see: Pain in the knee)In the case of a pulled knee, one expects a healing time between a few days to two weeks, whereas a rupture is a very long process. With conservative therapy, healing usually takes about six weeks, whereas a surgical procedure with aftercare can take considerably longer, depending on the severity of the injury.