The functionality of the knee would not be possible without the series of tendons and ligaments that hold everything together. Trauma or overuse can strain or tear these soft tissues and leave you immobile. The most common causes of soft tissue knee injuries are sports related. Every year we hear about more and more football players suffering season-ending knee injuries, and more and more medical terminology is creeping into our everyday vocabulary. You would be hard-pressed to find someone that doesn’t know what an ACL or MCL tear is, and most people that watch football are quite familiar with meniscus injuries.
Soft tissue injuries are broken down into three categories based on the severity of the stretching or tearing of the knees muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
- Grade I – Severe stretching of the ligaments, minimal tenderness, minimal swelling, minor instability.
- Grade II – Partial tearing of the ligaments, moderate tenderness, minor instability, moderately incapacitating.
- Grade III – Total tear of the ligaments, moderate to severe swelling, discomfort with movement, severe instability, severely disabling.
Soft tissue injuries can also be broken down into two different causes.
- Overuse – Injury as a result of repeated strenuous activity, not giving the soft tissue enough time to heal.
- Acute – Injuries suffered as the result of sudden trauma, such as a fall, blow, or sudden twisting of the knee.
While there is no guarantee on how long it will take for a soft tissue injury to heal, it typically takes Grade I injuries around 1-2 weeks to heal, Grade II about 3-4 weeks to heal, but Grade III can vary based on a number of factors such as age, health, activity level etc. Seeking a qualified doctor is one way to ensure your recovery goes quickly and smoothly. Dr. Matthew Byington is a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon with advanced fellowship training in Sports Medicine and Arthroscopic Surgery. He specializes in the non-operative and operative treatment of sports-related injuries as well as Knee, Shoulder and Elbow conditions. Dr. Byington treats all conditions of the Knee including acute and complex ligament injuries, cartilage damage, instability as well as chronic conditions such as arthritis. He has comprehensive training in meniscus repairs, ACL reconstruction, multi-ligament reconstruction, cartilage restoration, patella instability procedures, partial and total joint replacement, as well as revision surgery.