Signs of a torn lateral collateral ligament include:
- A feeling that the knee may give way under stress and isn't stable
- A locking or catching in the joint when it is moved
- Numbness or weakness in the foot may occur if the peroneal nerve, which is near the ligament is stretched during the injury or is pressed by swelling in surrounding tissues
- Pain that can be mild or acute
- Swelling and tenderness along the outside of the knee
Causes and Risk Factors
Tears to the lateral collateral ligament most often occur from a direct blow to the inside of the knee. This can stretch the ligaments on the outside of the near too far and may cause them to tear. This type of injury occurs in sports that require a lot of quick stops and turns such as soccer, basketball and skiing or ones where there are violent collisions such as football or hockey.
The ligament can also be injured by repeated stress that causes it to lose its normal elasticity. Most knee injuries are to the ligaments that support the knee, not the knee joint itself.