The knee joint is the largest in the body and is supported by four primary ligaments: the ACL, PCL, MCL, and LCL.
LCL tears can occur due to trauma, sports injuries, or direct impact to the knee, resulting in pain, swelling, and knee instability. Physical examination and imaging techniques like X-rays and MRI scans can help diagnose the injury.
Non-surgical treatments like rest, ice, elevation, bracing, and physical therapy are often recommended to reduce swelling and improve knee function. Surgery may be necessary if non-surgical options are ineffective. Depending on the severity and location of the injury, the LCL may be repaired or reconstructed using sutures, staples, or grafts.
LCL reconstruction involves replacing the damaged ligament with healthy tissue or a graft. Hamstring tendons are commonly used as autografts. The procedure is performed through an open incision and involves drilling precise tunnels in the thighbone and fibula to fix the graft.
Post-operative care includes using crutches, taking medication to reduce swelling, avoiding heavy lifting and exercise, and following specific instructions from the surgeon. Rehabilitation programs or physical therapy are also recommended to restore knee motion and strength.
Possible risks and complications of LCL reconstruction include chronic pain, knee weakness, knee instability, and peroneal nerve injury.