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Massage Today
November, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 11

One of the Secrets of the Knee

By Ben Benjamin, PhD

Question: Which knee ligaments limit rotational movement while holding the medial and lateral menisci in place?

Answer: The medial and lateral coronary ligaments.

image - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark The coronary ligaments are by-and-large unknown to most massage therapists, and health care professionals in general.

However, they are extremely important and a frequent cause of considerable knee pain. The coronary ligaments attach the menisci to the tibial shelf; they function to limit rotational movements of the knee and permit anterior and posterior movement of the menisci.

Each of us has a medial and lateral half-moon-shaped meniscus, which cushions the fit between the rounded surface of the femur and the flat surface of the tibia. When the meniscus tears, we often call it a torn cartilage. When this occurs, the knee often collapses and locks, causing periodic pain and swelling in the knee. However, what often happens is that one or both of the coronary ligaments tears and mimics many of the symptoms of a torn meniscus.

Practitioners with the skill to assess and treat a torn or sprained coronary ligament can help dissolve the adhesive scar tissue that gives rise to so much pain. Usually, pain is felt in the anterior lateral or anterior medial aspect of the knee. Because the coronary ligament isclosely associated with the joint capsule of the knee, damage can cause the synovial membrane to secrete excess fluid, resulting in swelling and heat in the affected knee.

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