Your knee joint is the largest joint in your body, located at the conjunction of the femur and the tibia. The muscles surrounding the knee are responsible for its movement, while the ligaments are responsible for keeping the joint stable and adding strength. The four ligaments in your knee that connect the leg bones are:
ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) – This ligament is located in front of the knee joint. Its responsibility is to prevent your shin bone from sliding too far forward during activities like running and jumping. ACL tears are a common injury in sports, especially basketball.
PCL (Posterior Cruciate Ligament) – The PCL sits opposite the ACL, behind the knee joint. This ligament prevents the shinbone from moving too far backward.
MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament) – The Medial Collateral Ligament resides on the inside of your knee joint, preventing the knee from bending inward. This ligament is very thick, and rarely requires surgery when it tears.
LCL (Lateral Collateral Ligament) – The PCL is on the outside of your joint, opposite the MCL. This ligament prevents your knee from bending outward.
Knee Ligament Injuries – When you experience trauma to your knee, the ligaments can tear. You may feel a popping sensation and instability when standing. Loss of range of motion, pain, and swelling, are also common in ligament tears.