The “Unhappy Triad” is a knee injury which usually occurs in contact sports such as football, when the knee is hit on the lateral (outside) aspect, and is forced inward. The Unhappy Triad injury has also been referred to as the terrible triad, or O’Donoghue’s triad. This causes an injury to three important structures in your knee which are the: anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), meniscus, and the medial collateral ligament (MCL).
A “plant and turn” non-contact movement can cause ACL tears and meniscus tears. In this example, of an Unhappy Triad injury the MCL injury occurs with some type of lateral blow or fall. A lateral blow to the knee, like from the action of a tackle, can cause an Unhappy Triad injury.
As the knee is hit from the outside, your ACL can tear, thus causing the knee to shift. When the knee shifts like this, your femur and tibia compress against the meniscus, inevitably causing damage to this cartilage. Due to the resulting position of the knee the MCL can also tear.
As a result, your knee can become extremely unstable due to this kind of knee injury.
So, now what? What can you do to help your knee, both before and after such an injury?
Surgery can help reconstruct the injured knee ligaments, but after the surgery is complete, this does not mean that your knee is perfectly healthy. The use of a well designed knee brace can help improve your stability and can also help reduce your knee pain as a result of the support that it can provide.
Moreover, a knee brace can also be used for prophylactic reasons before a terrible triad injury ever occurs. The likely hood of this kind of injury occurring would be far less if you wore a knee brace for support. This is achieved because the medial and lateral uprights on the brace would help to prevent excessive medial movements at the knee and this would decrease the chances of this injury. You are in essence helping to take away the way the injury needs to occur, which will allow you to keep playing the sport your are participating in.
Do not look back in the future wishing that you would have taken these words more seriously. This information can help you avoid any future regrets.