Your lateral ligaments represent some of the most frequently damaged soft tissues, especially if you lead an active lifestyle. Brandon Downs, MD, and the team at Orthopaedic Specialists recommend seeking medical care for lateral repairs if you have ongoing knee or ankle pain. If your lateral ligaments don’t heal properly, you’re at risk of developing chronic joint instability. To schedule an appointment, call one of the offices in Fairview, Nashville, Dickson, or Ashland City, Tennessee, or use the online booking system.
Lateral ligaments include the primary ligaments on the outer side of your knee and ankle. The lateral collateral ligament (LCL) is on the outside of your knee joint, where it connects your thigh bone to upper end of your fibula. The lateral ligament on the outside of your ankle connects the ankle to the lower end of your fibula.
Lateral ligament injuries occur when the ligament is stretched too far. Depending on the severity of the injury, the lateral ligaments may sustain slight stretching and microscopic tearing, partial tearing, or a complete tear.
Twisting your ankle causes most injuries to the lateral ankle ligaments. LCL damage typically occurs during motor vehicle accidents or athletic injuries. A direct blow to the knee, hyperextension, and changing direction while running can all lead to LCL sprains.
Spraining a lateral ligament causes symptoms such as:
Depending on the severity of the sprain, you may not be able to place weight on the affected leg.
When you come in for a lateral sprain, the team at Orthopaedic Specialists assess the severity of your injury based on your symptoms. In some cases, they may order X-rays to rule out a broken bone.
If your ligament sprain is mild, your provider at Orthopaedic Specialists recommends conservative treatment such as cold therapy, activity modification, and elevating your injured leg as much as possible. You may also need bandages or braces to limit movement while the ligament heals.
Though a partially torn lateral ligament can heal on its own, you may continue to have joint instability. As a result, even a moderate injury may warrant surgical treatment, or lateral repair, to ensure you restore optimal function and can return to intensive athletic activities.
Complete lateral ligament ruptures seldom heal well without surgery. If you want to prevent instability and regain maximum strength, Dr. Downs generally recommends surgical repair of the ligament.
If you have ongoing ankle or knee pain or swelling, call Orthopaedic Specialists or schedule an appointment online.