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Jonathan Cluett, M.D.

What happens when an athlete "blows out" their knee?

By October 31, 2005

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It was reported today that professional football player Daunte Culpepper sustained a severe injury to his knee in Sunday's football game. The injury was initially described as a "blown out" knee.

Using the diagnosis "blown out" knee is not terribly helpful in understanding exactly what structures were damaged nor what the injury prognosis will be. Saying a patient "blows out" their knee is much like saying the patient sustained a "knee sprain". Neither of these terms is a medical diagnosis.

The proper way to describe this condition is by stating which knee ligaments were damaged at the time of the injury. In the case of Daunte Culpepper's injury, he sustained damage to three of the four major ligaments in the knee; the anterior cruciate ligament, the posterior cruciate ligament, and the medial collateral ligament. This extent of damage to the knee and the treatment that will be required will certainly end the football season of this athlete.

July 28, 2007 at 5:33 pm
(1) DALE says:

how soon after an acute acl/pcl/mcl injury do athletes get their mri studies done?

July 29, 2007 at 8:14 pm
(2) orthopedics says:

It depends. An MRI can be performed at any time. Some physicians may recommend waiting for the swelling to subside after the injury to determine if the MRI is necessary. If you have an injury, ask your doctor when the right time to have an MRI would be. You may also find this helpful: Do I need a MRI?

June 25, 2008 at 1:26 pm
(3) stephen says:

i have a acl rupture and partial tear to the pcl would i need surgery, knee is painful and clunks all the time

June 28, 2008 at 7:10 pm
(4) orthopedics says:

You can read about the decision process for this type of surgery on the following page:
Deciding if ACL surgery is necessary

Good luck!

March 13, 2012 at 9:24 am
(5) chase says:

Im only 17 and my knee’s pop every time I even take a step doctors say that my ligaments are not fully grown but I play sports. My question is should I get knee braces?

May 31, 2012 at 9:10 pm
(6) symptoms of a torn knee ligament says:

Great items from you, man. I’ve be aware your stuff prior to and you’re simply extremely magnificent. I actually like what you’ve got right here, certainly like what you’re saying and the best way by which you assert it. You’re making it enjoyable and you continue to take care of to stay it wise. I can’t wait to learn much more from you. That is really a terrific site.

November 6, 2012 at 8:24 am
(7) Sarah says:

A lot of injuries can be treated with physiotherapy. I had to have physiotherapy in Milton Keynes after I hurt my knee from a dancing accident. It takes a while to fully heal but personally, I’d give it a go before opting for surgery!

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