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Unhappy Triad

Unhappy Triad (also known as 'Terrible Triad', 'Horrible Triad' 'Blown Knee' or 'O'Donoghue's Triad') is a condition that is characterized by the injury of anterior cruciate ligament and medial meniscus ligament. A complete or partial tear is usually observed in patients with this musculoskeletal injury.

What is Unhappy Triad?

Your knee joint runs from the bottom of your femur, which is your thigh bone, to the top of your tibia, your shin bone. Ligaments connect these two bones and provide stability for your knee joint.

Ligaments are strong, but they aren’t very elastic. If they stretch out, they tend to stay that way. And when stretched too far, they can tear.

The unhappy triad involves damage to your:

  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The ACL crosses your inner knee joint diagonally. It helps to prevent your tibia from moving too far forward and stabilize your leg when you twist at the waist.
  • Medial collateral ligament (MCL). The MCL prevents your knee from bending too far in the direction of your other knee.
  • Medial meniscus. This is a wedge of cartilage on the tibia in your inner knee. It acts like a shock absorber when you walk or run while also stabilizing your knee.

Unhappy Triad

Signs and Symptoms of Unhappy Triad

Most patients of Unhappy Triad present with symptoms of disabling knee pain and discomfort that is also associated with swelling and stiffness of the surrounded muscles; and locking of knee that may interfere with the stability, strength and range of motion of knee joint.

Causes of Unhappy Triad

Some of the common identified causes include

  • Application of lateral force on the knee
  • Injuries during sports
  • Lesions of meniscal region

Certain risk factors that may increase the risk of developing Unhappy Triad are: highly dynamic lifestyle (such as in athletes), history of serious traumas and injuries and congenital/ acquired conditions of bones such as deformities.

Statistics and Epidemiology related to Unhappy Triad

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