The Painful Reality of ACL, MCL and PCL Tears

Traumatic force in an accident can result in serious knee injuries. Some of the most painful are tears that occur to the ligaments in the knees. The more severe the injury, the longer recovery will take. This could mean months of pain. In some cases, chronic knee pain.

As a result, this can interfere with the accident victim’s ability to work, perform routine tasks or even enjoy life. Understanding the painful reality of these kinds of injuries is critical if filing an injury claim.

Types of Knee Ligament Tears: Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tear

This is one of the most common types of tears. Cruciate ligaments are inside the knee joint. An ACL tear involves the ligament in front. Oftentimes other damage to the knee such as damage affecting the meniscus accompanies an ACL injury.

The severity of an ACL tear determines treatment. The ligament might be stretched, partially torn or completely torn. Pain is the most common symptom.

Patients might experience:

  • swelling;
  • tenderness;
  • reduced range of motion; and
  • difficulty walking.

Types of Knee Ligament Tears: Medical Collateral Ligament (MCL) Tear

This tear typically happens because of force to the outside of the knee joint. Collateral ligaments are on the side of the knee joint. An MCL tear involves the ligament that is on the inner side of the knee. Upon forceful impact, the knee buckles and stretches the ligament so far that it tears.

As with an ACL tear, the most common symptom is pain. There could also be swelling and bruising. The knee might also give out or buckle.

Types of Knee Ligament Tears: Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Tear

While an ACL tear involves the cruciate ligament in front of the knee joint, a PCL tear involves the one in back. It takes violent force to cause this type of injury, such as a bent knee striking the dashboard in a motor vehicle.

Again, pain is the most common symptom. There is usually swelling, difficulty walking, and the knee may feel unstable.

Treatment of an ACL, MCL or PCL Tear

Regardless of the injured ligament, the treatment will depend on the severity of the tear. When ligaments stretch, surgery may not be required.

Treatment could include:

  • medication to reduce swelling and pain;
  • ice/cold packs;
  • elevation;
  • a knee brace; and
  • physical therapy.

But if there is a tear, especially one that is complete, surgery is usually necessary. ACL tears generally require the ligament to be reconstructed. A tissue graft replaces the torn ligament, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). Rehabilitation is especially important after undergoing surgery.

Surgery for PCL tears is similar to that used to perform an ACL surgery. Surgeons rebuild the ligament with a tissue graft. MCL tears typically don’t require surgery and may heal on their own.

How Knee Injuries May Impact an Injury Claim

It can take months to recover from an ACL, MCL or PCL tear. But some patients may experience long-term effects, such as chronic pain. Keep a pain journal to keep track of these effects.

Certain factors may increase chronic pain such as:

  • age;
  • weight; and
  • previous injuries.

If someone else caused the accident and resultant knee injury, accident victims who are pursuing a claim against that party should consider the costs, losses and long-term effects of the injury. Although recovering compensation for expenses is important, compensation may also address the painful reality of living with long-term pain. Damages may include pain and suffering, mental anguish, and more.

Talk to an attorney to learn more about you rights if filing an injury claim. Call D.J. Banovitz at 303-300-5060 or fill out our contact form to set up a consultation regarding your case.

D.J. Banovitz’ career has always concentrated on trial practice and he has litigated hundreds of cases. His passion and sole career focus has been to seek justice for people suffering from personal injuries as the result of someone else’s negligence. The hallmark of the Law Office of D.J. Banovitz, is the total commitment to professionalism, quality, and personalized care of your injury case. D.J. has dedicated his professional life to helping those most in need and is a proud and active member of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association. His experience includes volunteering for Colorado Rural Legal Services in Montrose, the Colorado Aids Project, consumer law, family law, criminal defense, and Alternative Defense Counsel for juveniles in Denver.