Pellegrini-Stieda Syndrome

Pellegrini-Stieda syndrome is a condition affecting the medial collateral ligament, which is an important ligament located in the knee and attaching to the thigh bone and shin bone. When it becomes injured there is a risk of the rigidity and calcification associated with Pellegrini-Stieda syndrome, and this is often caused by a sporting injury.


Change in knee motion will be the primary symptom, with a noticeable inflexibility particularly when attempting to straighten the affected leg. Common knee twisting, as involved in much physical activity, can also prove difficult. There is likely to be a feeling of tenderness on the inside of the knee. This might be accompanied by a lump in some cases. Pain and inflammation can sometimes be present as a consequence of the motion issues.


The injury is generally sustained as the result of a strike or unnatural stretch in the area where the medial collateral ligament joins to the thigh bone (femur). A significant direct blow can often be sufficient to provoke the condition. High speed impact from a cricket ball, football or other projectile is a common cause, as is a severe tackle or similar strike during a contact sport. Pellegrini-Stieda syndrome can also be caused by stretching the muscle incorrectly, especially due to a specific fall. With the foot remaining in position, the falling person drops over their own knee with the result of inward bending; this provokes a damaging overstretching of the ligament. Such a fall can occur in sports as diverse as basketball, rugby, gymnastics, football, and cycling.

Medical Exam and Treatment

It is important to consult a medical professional as soon as you suspect movement problems in the knee. Failure to report the injury and have it diagnosed can result in worsening the condition, particularly if you attempt to train through the symptoms and continue with strenuous knee activity regardless. A doctor will be able to diagnose the injury, which may involve the use of an x-ray or other scans, and recommend suitable medical treatment depending on its severity. Measures that they might advise include altering your level of activity while the injury heals, with a gentle program of stretches recommended for maintaining movement in the joint without exacerbating the condition. Physical therapy such as massage may be beneficial, and if pain or swelling is present then anti-inflammatory pain medication may be prescribed to reduce these symptoms.


In addition to the doctor's advice you should begin to ice the area every couple of hours using an icepack or crushed ice wrapped in a suitable material. This will lessen any inflammation or pain, and should be used in conjunction with pain medication if necessary. You should also seek to rest the joint for an appropriate amount of time, replacing activities involving the knee with arm or chest-heavy exercises to take pressure off the joint. Yet it is also important to gradually increase knee motion with the advice of a professional; this will combat rigidity and improve recovery time. The injury usually heals within a few weeks with responsible treatment and should not affect the knee in the long term.

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