There are four main ligaments of the knee that connect the bones together and provide stability for your knee. If you’re experiencing symptoms of a knee injury, it’s important to see an orthopedic specialist to determine the best treatment plan and prevent further injury.
Where is the ACL Located?
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is found inside the knee joint in front of the posterior cruciate ligament. The ACL and the PCL control the back and forth motion of your knee. The ACL is also important for providing rotational stability to the knee and preventing the tibia from sliding out in the front of the femur.
Symptoms of an ACL Injury
Injuring the ACL is one of the most common knee injuries especially for athletes. Most ACL injuries result in a complete tear of the ligament, which means you may hear a popping noise and feel your knee give out at the time of the injury. Common symptoms of an ACL injury are pain, swelling, tenderness, instability of your knee, loss of range of motion, and discomfort while walking.
Where is the MCL Located?
The two collateral ligaments on either side of the knee, the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and the lateral collateral ligament (LCL), help control the sideways motion of the knee. The MCL is on the inside connecting the femur to the tibia, and specifically helps to prevent your knee from bending inward.
Symptoms of a MCL Injury
Tears to the MCL often occur from a direct blow to the outside of the knee which pushes the knee inwards. In addition to swelling, bruising, and instability of the knee, pain from an MCL injury tends to be on the inside of the knee.
Where is the LCL Located?
The LCL is opposite the MCL and is located on the outside part of the knee, connecting the femur to the fibula. The LCL also helps to control sideways motion of the knee.
Symptoms of a LCL Injury
The LCL is less commonly injured than the MCL, and if it is injured, usually other structures in the knee joint are injured as well. An LCL injury can cause pain on the outside of the knee, and there may be swelling, stiffness, and instability.
Where is the PCL Located?
The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is located inside the knee joint, behind the ACL, to help control the back and forth motion of the knee.
Symptoms of a PCL Injury
An injury to the PCL is most commonly due to a car crash or a sport-related blow to the front of the knee while it is bent, and is usually injured along with other structures of the knee. Common symptoms of a PCL injury are knee pain, swelling, stiffness, difficult walking, and instability of the knee.