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What causes Ligament Tears?

Ligament injury typically occurs due to landing awkwardly or twisting. The most common cause of ligament tear is when the ligaments surrounding a specific joint are completely stretched causing it Practice Overviewto tear away from the bone. Knee and ankle ligament tears are the most common types of ligament tear injuries.

Orthopedic Institute of the West, led by astute board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Brandon Gough, provides hip and knee surgery procedures to patients in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Arizona, and other suburbs and towns in this monumental region of the southwest.

Common Cause of Torn Ligaments in the Knee

Many types of injuries can impact the tendons and ligaments in the knee area. The three most common and severe types of ligament tears in the knee are the ACL, LCL, and PCL tears.

ACL Injuries

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) goes diagonally through the middle portion of the knee. Its purpose is to offer support and stability to the three bones that connect in the knee joint, namely the tibia, femur, and patella. An ACL injury or tear is also called a “sprain.”

The symptoms of a sprained knee due to minor ACL tears include inflammation and tenderness. More serious or complete tears will lead to instability, a decreased range of motion, and serious pain and inflammation.

LCL Injuries

In addition to the ACL and MCL, the LCL controls the knee’s sideways motion and assists in bracing it against any atypical movements. The LCL connects the femur to the fibula. An LCL injury can lead to symptoms of severe pain in the outer knee, in addition to immobility and instability.

PCL Injuries

The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) offers stability to the tibia and does not allow it to be bent too far in the backward direction. A traumatic injury to the front part of the knees, specifically if the knees are bent, may lead to a PCL tear.

These ligament injuries are usually partial, and the patient may not require any treatment to address PCL tears which may heal by themselves. But it is vital that the patient visits a medical professional for the evaluation of these injuries. In some cases, PCL tears may be more serious and may require medical intervention.

ACL Injury Causes

A majority of ACL injuries occurs when the patient is undertaking sports or fitness activity that can put a strain on the knee, such as:

  • Slowing down suddenly and cutting (changing direction)
  • Pivoting with the foot firmly planted in place
  • Landing incorrectly from a jump
  • Stopping abruptly
  • Undergoing a direct blow to the knee or a collision in an activity such as a football tackle

In case of ligament damage, the patient usually undergoes a partial or total tear across the tissue. A minor injury may leave the ligament intact but overextend it.

Risk Factors for Women

Women are more susceptible to ACL injuries in comparison to men participating in the same sports. There are some reasons behind the differences in risks for men and women. Women athletes usually display an imbalance in strength in their thighs. The muscles in the quadriceps (front of the thigh) are more powerful than the hamstrings (muscles at the back).

Kind board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Brandon Gough receives patients from Phoenix, Scottsdale, Arizona, and other cities and towns in the central section of The Grand Canyon State for ligament tear injury.


For more information about hip and knee procedures and treatments by Arizona Board certified orthopaedic surgeon, Brandon Gough, M.D., please click here or call us at 623-873-8565. Taking new patients in and around Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, Tempe, Mesa and surrounding Arizona cities.

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