If a knee ligament injury is restricting your movements, then minimally invasive regenerative treatments could help you enjoy your life the way you want to.
What are knee ligaments?
Ligaments are bands of tough, stretchy connective tissue that wrap around a joint: stabilising it by limiting its range of movement.
- The knee has 4 major ligaments which connect the femur (thighbone) to the tibia (shin bone.) These include:
- The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL,) which is located at the centre of the knee and controls forward movement.
- The Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL,) which is located at the centre of the knee and controls backward movement.
- The Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL,) which gives stability to the inner knee.
- The Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL,) which gives stability to the outer knee.
What treatments does the regenerative clinic offer?
Our renowned medical team provides a range of non-invasive treatments, from the traditional to the innovative. Many of our treatments can be carried out on an outpatient basis, without the need for a hospital stay. In fact, many patients can resume their normal activities within several hours of their visit!
This is an effective and well-researched procedure that’s a potential alternative to surgery for a knee ligament injury. It takes advantage of the blood’s natural healing properties to reduce pain and improve joint function. It uses a specially concentrated dosage of platelets prepared from your own blood to repair damaged cartilage, tendons, ligaments, muscle and bone. Treatment is administered via an injection and depending on the injury two to six injections may be required, performed at weekly intervals. Patients usually see their symptoms improve within four to six weeks of having the injections. PRP is a safe treatment option which, because your own blood is used, carries no risk of allergic reaction.
This day case treatment is suitable for patients who have suffered a severe knee ligament injury and combines the benefits of Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy with Lipogems®, a pioneering procedure that uses your body’s own adipose (fat) cells to treat pain and inflammation. AMPP injections are minimally invasive and are carried out under ultrasound guidance. Altogether the procedure takes about an hour to perform with a minimal recovery time of around three hours. As well as being a potential alternative to surgery, AMPP can also aid post-surgery recovery. Read Angela’s story who had Lipogems® treatment in her knees. She is now pain free and her life has changed completely.
The nSTRIDE APS injection treatment is designed repair damaged knee ligaments by introducing high levels of “good” proteins concentrated from your own blood. These good proteins can block the “bad” proteins responsible for the inflammatory condition in your joint. At the same time, nSTRIDE APS also concentrates growth factors which are beneficial for cartilage health.
What is a knee ligament injury?
Injuries to the ligaments of the knee are most commonly found in the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and can vary from mild sprains to partial or full tears.
The other ligaments in the knee can also be affected, with all knee ligament injuries resulting in the joint becoming unstable and movement being limited. Severe knee ligament injuries can also be very painful, both when they happen and for weeks and months to come.
Knee ligament injuries are often graded in terms of severity.
With a mild Grade 1 injury, the ligament stretches but does not tear.
With a moderate Grade 2 injury, the ligament tears partially, often accompanied by swelling and bruising.
With a more severe Grade 3 injury, the ligament tears completely, often causing swelling and sometimes internal bleeding. As a result, the joint is unstable and cannot bear weight.
Grade 1 injuries don’t commonly disrupt every-day life and can be easily treated with basic first aid measures like rest, elevation and compression.
With a Grade 2 or 3 ligament injury, you’re more likely to experience debilitating pain and difficulty completing normal activities like walking, running or bending. This type of injury will also inhibit your ability to exercise or play sports, potentially for a period of many weeks or months.
Traditionally, Grade 2 and 3 ligament injuries are treated with intense physiotherapy or invasive and often unsuccessful surgery that comes with long recovery times and risk of infection. Happily, there are now state-of-the-art biological therapies that can help you avoid debilitating and often unsuccessful surgical interventions for your severe knee ligament injury.
These therapies are a cost-effective, non-invasive and highly successful way to quickly and permanently repair even the most severe knee ligament injuries.
What causes a knee ligament injury?
Each knee ligament is commonly injured in a different way.
The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is most often affected and is often stretched or torn (whether partially or fully) by a sudden sideways, twisting motion, when your feet remain fixed in one position and your knees turn the other way. Those who regularly enjoy sports like skiing, basketball, football and rugby are all at higher risk of an injury to the ACL.
The Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) is most often injured by being struck directly and with some force by a large object. This could happen during a car accident or during a rugby tackle, for example.
The Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) and Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) is often stretched or torn by a forceful blow to side of the knee, perhaps when playing sports like hockey or football.
However inflicted, severe knee ligament injuries can put you out of action for several weeks or months – longer if they involve a partial or full tear and are exacerbated by an underlying health condition like arthritis, or if you’re advanced in years.
With the advent of innovative new treatments like Activated Mesenchymal Pericyte Plasma (AMPP) injections, however, sufferers can be back on their feet quicker than ever before – even the elderly and those with additional or underlying conditions.
Treatments like these also allow the sufferer to avoid invasive, risky and ineffective surgical treatments and can often be completed on an outpatient basis, with little to no side effects.
What are the symptoms of a knee ligament injury?
A knee ligament injury often happens during intense physical activity and is easy to recognise, though it’s important to seek medical attention in order to properly diagnose your knee injury.
Likely symptoms of a ligament injury include:
- Severe pain that comes on quickly
- A loud ‘popping’ or ‘snapping’ noise
- Swelling with the first 24-hours
- A feeling of instability or looseness in the joint
- Weakness in the joint
- Inability to bear weight on the joint
You may experience these symptoms in isolation, or in tandem, and some will be more severe and debilitating than others (your pain may be mild, for example, but the inability to put weight on the affected leg could affect your ability to enjoy life as normal for a long period of time.)
How is a knee ligament injury diagnosed?
If you think you have sustained a knee ligament injury, it’s important to visit your GP as soon as possible, especially if you are suffering with intense pain and swelling.
Your doctor will physically examine the knee and, if it’s very tense and swollen with blood, may use a needle to drain it. You may be offered X-rays to make sure you don’t have a broken bone along with an MRI scan to examine how badly the ligament has been affected.
Tell your doctor how the damaged happened, how severe your pain level is, whether you heard a popping noise at the point of injury and how long it took for any swelling to become visible.
What are the non-surgical treatment options for a knee ligament injury?
For mild knee ligament injuries that involve only stretching rather than tearing, rest and simple first-aid treatment is usually all it takes to get you back on your feet within around 4 weeks or less.
Over-the-counter pain relief is usually enough to address any pain and an ice pack applied to the affected area for 20 minutes every few hours or the application of a compression bandage should easy any swelling.
You may also wish to sit or sleep with the affected leg propped up on pillows so that it’s raised higher than your heart. Avoid doing anything that over stresses your knee, such as exercising or playing sport. As you begin to resume energetic activities, your doctor may give you a brace to help stabilise the knee and prevent further injury.
With severe knee ligament injuries, you may be unable to do normal activities that involve twisting or turning of the knee for a period of some weeks or months. You may also be unable to bear full weight on the affected leg which will naturally inhibit your ability to exercise or stand for long periods of time.
Based on the extent of your injury, your GP may refer you for a course of physiotherapy to assist with the healing process.
This might include a combination of:
- Leg lifts
- Knee bends
- Toe raises
- Thigh strengthening exercises
- Thigh and calf stretching
- Gentle weight training with leg press equipment
Physiotherapy treatment can work in tandem with and be greatly enhanced by a combination of fast and effective, non-invasive regenerative treatments like PRP, AMPP and nStride APS.
What are the surgical options for a knee ligament injury?
Knee ligament surgery is often offered when a ligament has been completely torn and the knee continues to buckle or ‘give way’ after a long period of suffering and possibly after physiotherapy.
Surgery to correct a torn knee ligament usually involves replacing it with a piece of healthy tendon from the kneecap or hamstring. This is grafted in place to hold the knee joint together and may come from the patient (an autograft) or from an organ donor (an allograft.)
Many patients wish to avoid surgery for a damaged knee ligament as, along with the risks associated with the procedure itself, it may take many weeks if not months to resume normal activities like walking without using crutches and exercising. You will also need to avoid contact sports altogether until the injury is fully healed and may require on-going physiotherapy to aid healing and restore a healthy range of motion.
Quick and non-invasive regenerative treatments like Activated Mesenchymal Pericyte Plasma Injections (AMPP) and nStride Autologous Protein Solution are worth exploring as a cost-effective, safe and efficient alternative to knee ligament surgery.
Why have a consultation at the Regenerative Clinic?
Ligament injuries can be long-term and can prevent you from taking part in the activities you usually enjoy, along with making it difficult for you to complete day-to-day tasks or go to work (particularly if your job is physically strenuous.)
Regenerative treatments are a non-invasive alternative to surgery for your ligament injury and can enhance your recovery alongside methods like physiotherapy.
At the Regenerative Clinic, our experienced consultants will undertake a thorough examination to explore both non-surgical and surgical treatments. They will also discuss your suitability for our non-invasive, state-of-the-art biological therapies which can help you avoid debilitating and often unsuccessful surgery for your severe knee sprain.
Who will my consultation be with?
Your consultation will be booked with one of our knee specialists: Professor Wilson, Mr. Sam Heaton, Mr. Jamie Arbuthnot, Mr. Arj Imbuldeniya, Mr. Rohit Jain, Mr. Ed Britton or Mr. Amit Kumar.
Our expert team is made up of highly experienced surgeons, sports medicine doctors and physiotherapists who are committed to delivering a high level of care along with identifying the right treatment option to help you return to life as it was before your knee injury.
Many of our patients explore a wide range of medical options but are ultimately unable to find a treatment that fully restores their knee injury, particularly if they are experiencing underlying or age-related conditions like arthritis that exacerbate symptoms and complicate the prognosis.
We offer a range of non-invasive, non-surgical options for those who wish to avoid going under the knife, or for those who have found surgical intervention ineffective.
What will my consultation involve?
Your consultation will last approximately 30 minutes. You may be also be asked to attend for an MRI scan, prior to your appointment.
As well as undertaking an examination, our specialists will take details of your medical history and discuss your symptoms. They will cover your treatment options in detail, including their potential benefits and any risks involved. and cover their potential benefits and risks.
What is the autologus biological approach and when should it be considered?
Autologous translates as ‘from the same person.’ In brief, it involves using your own cells to encourage healing. The major benefits are that there is no chance of rejection, infection or contamination as you are using cells from your own body rather than a donor.
We offer a range therapies based on this principle which can be considered if traditional treatments including surgery aren’t relieving your pain.
Biological treatments are pioneering procedures and we’re continuously monitoring and recording its effectiveness. Patients undertaking these treatments are asked to complete pre-operative and post-operative questionnaires.
The information obtained from these questionnaires allows us to monitor your progress and it also contributes to our evidence-based database and other global studies on biological treatments. All information gathered is anonymised.