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About the Unhappy Triad

Posted on April 29th, 2015 by Orthopaedic Specialty Group

About the Unhappy Triad | Knee Injury | Orthopaedic Specialty Group

Sports are great; they promote physical activity in a fun environment and give many athletes the competitive clash that they desperately crave. Unfortunately, sports also bring the inevitable risk of injuries, few more serious than the unhappy triad.

If this is a new term to you, the “unhappy triad” is the name used to describe the simultaneous tearing of the knee’s anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), medial collateral ligament (MCL), and meniscus. Also called the “terrible triad” or “O’Donoghue’s triad”, this painful injury is one of the worst that an athlete can sustain to their knee.

This injury is caused by a forceful blow to the lower leg while the foot is planted, causing the knee to move in an unnatural direction. Symptoms of the unhappy triad include:

  • A popping or tearing sound at the time of the injury.
  • Extreme pain immediately following the collision.
  • Rapid swelling of the area.
  • Difficulty moving the knee, even days after injuring it.
  • Instability, especially when trying to walk.

So what can you do if you sustain this injury?

First, get off of your feet immediately. Rest and ice the knee as much as possible for the first few days, and if it is necessary to walk, use crutches. An X-Ray or MRI will need to be taken to confirm the injury, and treatment options depend on the severity of the ligament tears.

More often than not, you will need to undergo reconstructive surgery to allow your ACL and meniscus to heal back to full strength. The typical recovery period for a blown knee is anywhere between 6-9 months of rest and rehabilitation.

Injured athletes residing in Connecticut can count on the Orthopaedic Specialty Group for expert treatment solutions. Our team of highly-trained orthopedic specialists can accurately diagnose your injury and our state-of-the-art surgery centers and rehab facilities will get you back on your feet as quickly as possible. Call us today to schedule an appointment at (203) 337-2600.