Multi-Ligament Knee Injury and Knee Dislocations

I have a special interest in multi-ligament knee injury. This usually results from high-energy trauma to the knee, with injury to more than one of the knee’s stabilising ligaments.


Multi-Ligament Knee Injury: What Is It?

Various combinations of ligament trauma can occur, with damage some or all of the four main stabilising ligaments to the knee:

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)
  • Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL)
  • Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL)
  • Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL, also known as Posterolateral Corner)

Other structures within the knee are frequently involved, including the medial and lateral menisci, joint lining cartilage, patella tendon, and bones (femur, tibia, fibula and patella).

Multi-Ligament Knee Injury: Symptoms

Multi-ligament knee injuries frequently occur as the result of high-speed motorbike and motor vehicle trauma, workplace trauma and at times during sporting accidents. Most commonly the injury is very painful, and the knee feels unstable with even minimal movement.

If severe, injuries may be associated with vascular and nerve damage, which require immediate treatment.

Multi-Ligament Knee Injury: Diagnosis

These types of knee injury are suspected when there is a large amount of swelling and pain after knee trauma. Examination of the knee reveals instability of the joint. To characterise the exact combination of ligament injuries, we use diagnostic imaging including X-rays and MRI. Accurately diagnosing the combination and degree of knee injury is essential for guiding surgical treatment.

Multi-Ligament Knee Injury: Treatment

Multi-ligament knee injuries form a particular subset of knee injury and require treatment by a specialist knee surgeon. These injuries are complex, most often require extensive reconstructive surgery and can take an extended time to heal. Each multi-ligament knee injury is unique and requires an individualised plan to optimise the outcome. I treat these complex injuries in my private pactice and in the public sector at Royal Perth Hospital, where the most severe cases of trauma in Western Australia are managed. With a meticulous approach to treatment by a highly skilled team, the aim is to maximise recovery potential in what is often a complex injury situation.