What is knee ligament reconstruction?

The ligaments in the knee are tough bands of tissue that help to stabilize and support the joint. Damage to those ligaments, often from intense physical activity, can result in limited movement. Oftentimes, surgery is needed to repair and reconstruct the ligament.

Causes of knee ligament injuries

Usually, sports that involve pivoting and twisting of the knee, such as basketball, skiing and football, make participants more susceptible to injury. But ligament damage can occur during any one of the following movements:

  • Sudden direction changes
  • Landing improperly after jumping
  • Direct hit to the side of the knee
  • Slowing down when running

When you injure your knee ligament, you could hear a popping sound followed by a buckling of the leg. You’ll also notice swelling and a limited range of motion.

Treatment options, including repair and reconstruction

Nonsurgical treatment options include:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression and elevation
  • Pain relievers
  • Muscle strengthening exercises

If you have a complete ligament tear, reconstructive surgery might be necessary. It’s usually an outpatient procedure, meaning you won’t need an overnight stay.

Surgery involves replacing the injured ligament with a tendon from another part of your body. Sometimes it’s from another part of your knee or hamstring, or it could come from a donor.

The surgeon will use an arthroscope to make small sockets in the bone. They can pass the new ligament through the sockets and secure it.


After surgery, make sure to keep the area clean and dry. You can take anti-inflammatory medication to control pain, and you may need to keep your leg elevated to reduce swelling.

You will probably go home on crutches and need them to get around for a while. At some point, your surgeon will schedule you a physical therapy follow-up to aid recovery. Expect full recovery to take at least a few months.


If you think you might have a knee ligament injury, don’t hesitate to contact the experts at Missouri Orthopedics and Advanced Sports Medicine. Our team of specialists can help diagnose your condition and set you up with a treatment plan.