What is the Worst Knee Ligament to Tear?

Knee Ligament TearImage of a knee

By: Drew Heideman PT ATC

What is the Worst Knee Ligament to Tear?


There are 4 major ligaments in the knee.  The ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) is most likely to be considered the worst ligament in the knee to tear.  The ACL is a ligament that helps stabilize the knee by limiting the movement of the lower leg, keeping it from sliding forward and limiting hyperextension of the knee.  When the ACL tears, the knee typically becomes very swollen and unstable.  The ACL can be torn with forceful trauma to the knee or and forceful twisting motion to the knee.  It is more common with contact sports but is also seen commonly with sports with a lot of direction changes.

Tearing the MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament) and the LCL (Lateral Collateral Ligament) is not as common as tearing the ACL.  If you do tear the MCL and LCL, it is more common to be treated conservatively with therapy and bracing but surgical repair is sometimes necessary.  With an ACL tear, in young people or active older adults, surgical repair is typically necessary after an ACL tear.  The biggest issue with a surgical repair is that it takes about 9 months to rehabilitate afterwards.  Most people would agree that the ACL ligaments is the worst ligament to tear in the knee.

Tearing the PCL (Posterior Cruciate Ligament) is not as common but also typically requires surgical repair.  If not, the knee can become unstable and cause increased force to the knee cap.  This can lead to excessive abnormal wear and tear to the knee joint surfaces.   A severe trauma injury to knee can result in tearing more than one ligament in the knee. This may require more than one surgery to repair.

If you want to learn more about the knee anatomy, go to this Knee Video.

Knee AnatomyKnee Anatomy


How do you Treat a Ligament Tear in the knee?


Conservative treatment would incluce Physical Therapy can help with treating knee ligament tears, or other related injuries.  Physical therapy may include strength training and stretching.  It is important to regain full range of motion of the knee.  

If you are experiencing  pain or have sustained trauma to the knee, it is important to be properly evaluated. 

If you want to learn more about knee pain, go to: https://www.joionline.net/trending/content/knee-pain


If you need an appointment with an Orthopaedic Knee Specialist, call JOI-2000 or click below. 

See a Knee Specialist

Book Appointment



Font Resize
Contrast