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Torn Ligaments/Torn Menisci

There are four major ligaments in the knee. Ligaments are flexible bands of tissue that connect the bones of the upper (femur) and lower leg (tibia and fibula) bones to each other and provide strength and stability to the joint. The four main ligaments in the knee include:

  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) – This ligament is located in the center of the knee. It controls rotation and forward movement of the tibia
  • Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) – This ligament is located in the center of the knee and controls backward movement of the tibia
  • Medial collateral ligament (MCL) – This is the ligament that gives stability to the inner knee.
  • Lateral collateral ligament (LCL) – This is the ligament that gives stability to the outer knee.

Cruciate Ligament Injuries

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the most common ligament to be injured. The ACL is easily stretched and/or torn during a sudden twisting motion (when the feet stay planted one way, but the knees turn the other way). Many ACL injuries occur during sporting events. They are very common with skiing, basketball, and football injuries. Posterior cruciate ligament injuries often take place with sudden, direct impact incident, such as in a car accident or during a football tackle.

Symptoms of Ligament Injuries

In some cases, there is little pain associated with ligament injuries. Instead, one may hear a popping noise when the injury occurs followed by a loss of stability with the knee. This is manifested with the knee buckling or giving out when trying to stand.

Collateral ligament injuries

The medial collateral ligament is injured more frequently than the lateral collateral ligament. Stretch and tear injuries to the collateral ligaments are often caused by a blow to the outer side of the knee. This can occur in sporting collisions, car accidents or when the knee is struck by a foreign object. Similar to cruciate ligament injuries, injuries to the collateral ligaments can cause the knee to pop and buckle, causing pain and swelling.

Torn Menisci

The knee is made up of three bones: The femur, the tibia and the patella. The ends of these bones are covered with cartilage, a smooth material that cushions the bone and allows the joint to move easily and acts as a shock absorber. Between the bones of the knees are two discs of connective tissue called mensci which also act to cushion the bones where they meet.

Meniscus tears often occur from twisting injuries. Depending on the severity of the tear, the meniscus may become largely detached from the knee. Symptoms of a meniscus tear can include pain, swelling, weakness as well as clicking or locking.


In some minor cases, nonsurgical treatment will be the preferred treatment. Physical therapy and rehabilitation, in conjunction with the use of a variety of braces, can be used to rehabilitate the knee to a condition close to its pre-injury state. In some cases, however, continuing to engage in the activity that led to the initial injury may result in a secondary injury to the knee which can lead to the need for surgery. Non surgical treatment is often indicated in cases where there are only partial tears and no symptoms of instability or in cases where the individual will likely not be engaged in sports involving strenuous physical exertion in the future or in cases where the growth plates are still not fully developed (children).

Surgical treatment is reserved for knee injuries that are more severe or which involve multiple levels of injuries. ACL tears are often repaired using a substitute graft made of tendon. This is due to the historical fact that ACL repairs have typically proven to fail over time. The grafts commonly used to replace the ACL include: Patellar, hamstring or quadriceps tendon autografts. Autografts come from the patient. Other types of grafts include allografts, which are taken from cadavers. Patients treated with surgical reconstruction using grafts have very high success rates with recurrent instability in less than 10% of patients.The goal of the ACL reconstruction surgery is to prevent instability and restore the function of the torn ligament, creating a stable knee. This allows the patient to return to sports.

Following a knee injury, one may experience significant pain from the injury as well as from the treatment. In addition, such injuries may have a substantial effect on the day to day activities of the injured person which effects can last up to a year, or more. In addition, depending on the nature of the work performed by the injured person, the injury may affect their ability to return to work and their earning capacity, especially those who perform manual labor in their jobs. Failing to seek appropriate treatment may also lead to complications such as arthritis and, potentially, the need for a knee replacement.

The attorneys at Sheff Law Offices, P.C. in Boston, MA have extensive experience in dealing with knee injuries and the complications arising from such injuries. Our attorneys are available to discuss your concerns and explain the hurdles you may be facing following a serious knee injury. Our attorneys take pride in the personal service we provide to each of our clients.

Our attorneys have a combined 140 years of experience in handling personal injury cases including all types of knee injuries. Unlike many general practice firms that may take any case that comes in the door, our attorneys specialize in handling personal injury cases. See our proven results page for details of some of our best case outcomes.

To schedule a free, confidential consultation with an experienced injury attorney at the Massachusetts law firm of Sheff Law, call 617.227-7000 or 888-423-4477 (toll free) or contact us online. Our experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorneys will listen to the details of your case, explain your legal options, and answer any questions you may have. We promptly respond to all calls and e-mails. If your injury makes traveling to our office difficult or impossible, we are willing and able to travel to meet you. Please note that we take all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. We charge no fee unless you recover.