Schenck classification of knee dislocation

The Schenck classification is categorizing knee dislocation based on the pattern of ligament tears. The four major ligamentous stabilizers are the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), medial collateral ligament (MCL) and the lateral collateral ligament (LCL) complex.

Schenck classification

Five patterns of major injuries are seen in knee dislocations (KD), each designated by a Roman numeral, from I to V. 

  • KD I: involvement of the ACL or PCL
  • KD II: injury to both ACL and PCL, with both collaterals intact
    • rare
  • KD III: injury to both ACL and PCL, and MCL or LCL - not both - torn
    • KDIIIM (if MCL torn)
    • KDIIIL (if LCL torn) 
  • KD IV: all 4 ligaments torn
    • highest rate of vascular injury (5-15%)
  • KD V: multiligamentous injury with periarticular fracture
    • i.e. knee fracture-dislocation

Additional letter designators indicate the presence of neurovascular injury:

It is important if tendinous injuries, avulsions of the biceps femoris, tibial tubercle, and/or quadriceps tendon tears are present, in which cases additional descriptor(s) is/are documented. 

Knee pathology

The knee is a complex synovial joint that can be affected by a range of pathologies:

Article information

rID: 65804
Tag: cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Classification of knee dislocations
  • Knee dislocation classification
  • Classification of knee dislocation

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