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ACL and MCL Injuries: Not Just for Olympic Skiers


On January 7, 2014, Lindsay Vonn announced that she would not be able to compete in the upcoming Sochi Olympic Games because “her knee is too unstable to compete at this level.” Vonn tore the anterior cruciate ligament (“ACL”) and medial collateral ligament (“MCL”) after crashing during a skiing competition in February 2013. Following reconstructive surgery the Olympic athlete reinjured her knee during a training run in Colorado. Vonn will undergo additional surgery and rehabilitation in order to compete again in the future.

However, one does not need to be traveling 80-90 miles an hour down a mountain to suffer a similar knee injury. Everyday individuals slip and fall in stores, sidewalks parking lots, icy surfaces, and other dangerous portions of commercial and non commercial  properties  While some only suffer from temporary embarrassment, individuals can also experience torn ACL and MCL injuries as a result of sudden and irregular rotating or bending motion.  In other words, the knee can only go so far.

A partially or completely torn ligament generally results in swelling and pain within the first twenty-four hours of injury. Although partial tears can sometimes heal on their own with rest, individuals generally must undergo rehabilitation to help strengthen and stabilize the knee. Complete tears require surgery for full recovery, in addition to rehabilitation. Factors such as a person’s age, level of activity, and the presence of other knee injuries can require an individual to receive surgery followed by post-surgical rehabilitation.

In addition to long term rehabilitation, individuals can experience impairment and an inability to return to previous activity levels. Furthermore, individuals who have reconstructive surgery oftentimes suffer a second injury within two years of the original injury, as was the case with Lindsay Vonn.

A landowner or business proprietor is responsible for maintaining safe premises. If an injury occurs as a result of a dangerous or hazardous condition on the property, which the owner knew, or should have known about, then he or she may be responsible. Due to the potential for extended periods of disability, an individual who is hurt as a result of a slip and fall may wish to consult an attorney to recover compensation to meet future needs. It is also important not to accept any insurance company’s offer until you know how the knee injury will affect you.

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