Cruciate ligament tear
We’ll restore the stability in your kneeFootball players, skiers, basketball players – they can all push their knee to the limit in terms of stress. For this reason, cruciate ligament tears (cruciate ligament ruptures) most commonly occur during sports. The cruciate ligaments of your knee joint are then partially or completely torn. A cruciate ligament injury is accompanied by knee joint instability and will need to be treated by a specialist.
At Schoen Clinic, we have experienced staff specialised in knee injuries, particularly ligament tears. Our team of doctors will ensure that your injury is treated effectively, with minimal pain.
Causes & symptoms
Purpose and function of the cruciate ligaments
The thigh and calf bones are connected at the centre of your knee joint by two cruciate ligaments. This flexible connection between your two leg bones ensures they can be moved and rotated independently, without displacing one another. Your cruciate ligaments work with the collateral ligaments to stabilise the movements in your knee joint. They protect your knee joint against overextension and overrotation.
Your cruciate ligaments are especially important for sports. They regulate all of the turning, starting and breaking movements of your knee.
Causes: how a cruciate ligament tear occursCruciate ligament tears are some of the most common knee ligament injuries. The anterior cruciate ligament is ten times more likely to be affected than the posterior cruciate ligament. In sports, the cruciate ligaments are typically under a lot of stress. If the stress exceeds the tensile strength of the ligaments, this generally leads to a partial or full cruciate ligament tear. This is due to a sudden rotational movement, often in connection with a buckling of the knee joint.
Cruciate ligament tear: symptoms that are clear indicatorsThe tear in your cruciate ligament will be accompanied by stabbing pain. You will immediately notice instability in your knee joint. As a result of this tear, fluid will generally collect in your knee and your knee joint will swell up. Movement in your knee will then be greatly reduced and the joint will often only be able to bend slightly. Any strain on your knee will cause pain. Often, the swollen joint will be excessively warm.
Initial measures for a suspected cruciate ligament tear
We recommend following the so-called RICE rule to prevent further damages to your knee joint:
- Rest: stop putting weight on your knee joint as quickly as possible.
- Ice: cool the knee to combat swelling and inflammation of the joint.
- Compression and Elevation: apply a compression bandage and keep your leg raised. With these measures, you can slow down the swelling of the knee joint.
In addition, you should be examined by a doctor as soon as possible. Our specialists at Schön Klinik have years of experience in handling knee injuries and can work with you to find a suitable treatment.
Diagnostics: how we get it spot on
To diagnose cruciate ligament tear, we first check the stability of your knee. We have different tests available for this purpose, as well as additional imaging procedures such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Through a “drawer test”, we check the inner joint stability of your knee by drawing your calf forwards with your knee bent. If the calf can be pulled forward “like a drawer”, this indicates an anterior cruciate ligament tear. If the calf can be pushed back easily with your knee bent, this is a sign of an anterior cruciate ligament tear. In the MRI scan, the knee and its surrounding structures are depicted in layers. Injuries to the cruciate ligaments, but also the bordering structures such as the joint cartilage and meniscus, can be seen especially well.
Your medical history, details of the accident, all test results and the imaging provide the basis for an accurate diagnosis. We can also detect any accompanying injuries in the examination. These often involve the cartilage or meniscus.