Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms


· ACL – a loud “POP” sound, severe pain, knee swelling within 4-12 hrs, feeling of instability with weight bearing.

· PCL – mild to moderate pain at the back of the knee, sudden knee swelling and tenderness (within 3hrs of the injury), pain with kneeling or squatting, a slight limb or difficulty walking, feeling of instability or looseness in the knee/knee gives way during activities, pain with running/slowing down/walking up or down stairs or ramps. Most patients with torn PCL don’t feel a’ POP’ – sign of ACL tear.

· MCL – pain (pain aggravated by twisting movements) and tenderness towards the medial side of the knee, localised swelling where tear has occurred, valgus deformity, and knee instability. There are 3 grades of MCL tears – the signs and symptoms vary/increase/get worse as the injury gets more serious.

· LCL – generally same as MCL, but now all of the things happen on the lateral side (pain, tenderness, localised swelling…), this time it’s a varus deformity. Since the common fibula nerve is found near LCL, it can be damaged in the event of a severe injury (stretched during injury), or it can also be squeezed by swelling of surrounding tissue).

· Tendon injury (tendonitis/ruptured tendon) – patellar, popliteal, & quadriceps tendon, symptoms include pain, swelling, and tenderness where the tendon is located. Feel pain during running, jumping, or fast walking. If there is a tear in the Quads tendon – difficulty extending, walking, patella lower than normal.

Meniscus (tear):

· Depends of degree of tear

· Pain particularly when knee extended (lateral/medial – depending on which menisci is injured)

· Popping sensation in the knee during injury

· Locking of the knee

· Dramatic swelling within a few hours

· Pain aggravated by twisting


· Fracture

· Symptoms same as with any other fracture – pain, tenderness, deformity (length, orientation etc), swelling/tenderness, loss of function (can’t walk).

· Also need to consider damage to surrounding tissues around the bone – blood vessels, nerve which will influence the symptoms.

Nerves and blood vessels:

· Blood vessels – symptoms are common to those involving any blood vessel injury, and vary depending on severity. Inflammation (swelling, redness, pain due to compression of nerves, etc), clots, loss of function, ischemia, necrosis, etc.

· Nerve injury – again symptoms of nerve injury are probably common to any nerve. Paraesthesia (pins and needles, tingling), pain, loss of sensation, decrease in muscle tone (wasting), weak movements (abnormal gait), paralysis, etc.


· Symptoms depend of the severity of the injury. Strain – injury to muscle/tendon (stretch/tear of muscle).

· This involves hyperflexion/hyperextension of the knee, and can cause stiffness, bruising, swelling, pain of the respective muscles (Hamstrings, or Quads), muscle spasms, together with muscle weakness also occur, severe injury (e.g. muscle tears) could result in loss of function.


~ by pcl4 on September 25, 2008.

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