Orthopedist Questions Knee Injuries and Disorders

Is my knee injury serious?

I jumped off from the roof of my shed and injured myself, but my doctors only told me that I have a torn ligament in my knee. Is this serious?

5 Answers

This answer depends on which ligament is torn. Some ligaments require surgery while others heal on their own. At the very least, it would be worth seeing an orthopedic surgeon for advice.
If you have continued pain, instability, locking, or giving way of the knee symptoms, you should seek orthopedic treatment for a proper evaluation, diagnostic tests, and appropriate care.

Scott M. Taylor, M.D.

It depends on which ligament is torn and what your level of activity is. Usually, the only one that requires surgery is the ACL. The MCL and LCL usually heal on their own, sometimes with bracing, in 2-6 weeks depending on severity. The PCL usually heals if it is a low to moderate grade injury. A grade 3 or severe PCL injury may benefit from surgery as well.

You should see an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine to find out your best treatment options.

For non-operative or bracing management, I recommend a brace like the McDavid Level 3 or the Donjoy Playmaker or similar.
If the doctor was an orthopedic surgeon and he did not recommend surgery, then the injury is probably not serious and will heal on its own in time. Serious injuries require surgery.

Hope it helps!!

Dr. Bose
The short answer is maybe. Depending on which ligament has been injured and your age/activity level, certain ligaments can be treated without surgery (brace and physical therapy) and others require reconstructive surgery or repair. I would recommend a referral to an orthopedic surgeon for evaluation. Generally, an anterior cruciate ligament or lateral collateral ligament require surgery and a medical collateral ligament or a posterior cruciate ligament do not. However, that doesn’t necessarily hold true for everyone (such as high level athletes), and when more than one ligament is torn, that also can change what needs to have surgery.
I hope you find that helpful. You can also find more information on the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons website, Orthoinfo.org.