Multi-Ligament Knee Injury Treatment Options
Multi-ligament knee injuries are severe injuries that involve damage to two or more ligaments of the knee joint. The treatment options for multi-ligament knee injuries depend on the type and severity of the injury.
What is non-surgical treatment?
If the injury is minor or partial, non-surgical treatment may be recommended. This may include:
- Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE)
- A knee brace may be recommended to provide support and stability to the knee joint during the healing process. Bracing depends on the type and severity of the injury.
- Pain management is an essential part of the treatment process for multi-ligament knee injuries. This may include over-the-counter pain medications, prescription pain medications, or other pain management techniques such as ice or heat therapy.
What are the surgical treatment options for multi-ligament knee injuries?
Surgical treatment is widely regarded as superior to nonsurgical management and has been demonstrated to improve function, return to work, and return to sports although the incidence of post-traumatic osteoarthritis is high. Importantly, acceptable results have been obtained with non-surgical management in people who are not good candidates for surgery.
- Surgical ligament repair may be possible if the ligaments are only partially torn or are stretched.
- Meniscus repair may be possible if the meniscus is torn and can be repaired.
- Sometimes multi-ligament knee injuries can cause the bones to shift out of place. In these cases, Dr. Godin may need to perform an osteotomy to trim and realign the bones and restore knee stability.
- Ligament Reconstruction is the procedure to restore ligament integrity with tissue grafts either from the patient (autografts) or a donor (allografts). Generally, Dr. Godin may combine arthroscopic and open ligament reconstruction procedures during surgery. The reconstruction technique to be used depends on each patient’s current situation, but it is usually anatomic reconstruction. Anatomic ligament reconstruction is individualized surgery based on each patient’s natural anatomy. The timing of surgery is also important. Studies report that early ligament reconstruction (within two weeks of the injury) produces significantly superior outcomes when compared to late ligament reconstruction.
- In rare cases, the damage to the knee may. be so severe as to require a total knee replacement.
Multi-ligament knee injuries are complex. Due to their complexity and rarity, the proper treatment, timing and extent of surgery is individualized for each patient. The goal is the restoration of knee stability and pain free function.
Recovery from multi-ligament reconstruction
Recovery from multi-ligament reconstruction of the knee can be a long and difficult process. In most cases, patients will need to undergo an intense rehabilitation program in order to regain full function of the knee. The type of rehabilitation program will vary depending on the specific surgery that was performed, but all programs will typically focus on regaining range of motion, strength, and flexibility. It is often a long and difficult journey, but it is possible to recovery and return to an active life.
When you or a loved one experiences multi-ligament knee injury, you need expertise in sports medicine and orthopedic surgery. Dr. Godin specializes in advanced arthroscopic and reconstructive surgical techniques for the treatment of complex disorders of the knee including multi-ligament injuries and knee dislocations. He has cared for professional athletes from the NFL, MLB, NHL, ATP/WTA, PGA and was team physician for the US Men’s and Women’s Alpine Ski Teams.
Contact Dr. Godin at his Vail, Frisco, or Edwards, Colorado office to schedule a consultation to receive the correct diagnosis and all your treatment options.