The Unhappy and Terrible Blown Knee and What You Should do About It

a woman suffering from knee painWhen Dr. Don H. O’Donoghue, the Father of Sports Medicine in America, described the injury he called, “The Unhappy Triad,” he received plenty of attention. The complexity of the pathology led to numerous debates about the best medical, surgical, and rehabilitative approach to facilitate the return to function. Since O’Donoghue’s first description of what is sometimes called, “broken knee,” the triad is one of the most essential topics in sports medicine today.

Structures involved

In multiple ligamentous injuries to the knee such as the Unhappy Triad of O’Donoghue, there are three structures involved. All the structures are located at the inner aspect of the joint. These are the medial meniscus, the medical collateral ligament (MCL), and the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The medial meniscus, which is located along the inner side, is part of the shock absorbing mechanism that distributes forces applied to the joint. The MCL is thick and prevents gapping due to the force applied on the lateral part of the joint. Meanwhile, the ACL is vital in avoiding extreme translation of the shinbone against the thighbone.

Mechanism of injury

The mechanism of a knee injury as discussed by orthopedic experts in Provo is a force given at the lateral aspect of the knee while the limb is from loading response through midstance, or weight bearing. People suffering from a broken knee injury experience difficulty and pain in running, climbing stairs, and even with walking. The resulting knee instability makes it impossible for the person to jump and engage in any activities involving weight bearing on the injured knee. The muscles are not primarily involved, but the patella, and the knee joint capsule may be damaged to an extent.

Return to function

A rehabilitation team formulates an exercise program targeting specific components that will allow you to restore full function of the injured ligaments. While only an individualized therapy program can lead to positive outcomes, the rehabilitation program typically involved relief of post-surgical pain, re-establishment of joint range of motion, and reconditioning muscles to facilitate normal function.