MCL Injury? Learn More About the Medial Collateral Ligament and MCL Tear From Orthopedic Surgeon


One very common knee injury is an MCL tear or a medial collateral ligament tear. The medial collateral ligament or MCL runs from the shin bone or tibia up to the thigh bone (also known as the femur).

Athletes commonly experience MCL tears following some type of knee related trauma. For example, sharp twisting or stopping can cause an MCL tear as can strong impact. An MCL tear is a common injury among dancers, and it is also a common injury among skiers, ice hockey players and football players. Soccer and basketball players may also be vulnerable to MCL tears as well.

Ligaments work to manage bodily movement by restricting the movement of joints. If the outside of the knee joint experiences some type of intense impact, sharp twisting or turning, you may experience an MCL injury. The MCL is particularly vulnerable to tearing if it is pulled too much or overstretched which can easily occur during athletic competition.

During a very intense injury to the knee, a person might experience tearing to the MCL, the Anterior Cruciate Ligament or “ACL” and the meniscus all at one time. Sharp pain on the inside of the knee often accompanies an MCL injury. This inner knee pain can last for hours and in more severe cases like with a Grade III MCL injury, a person may also experience a feeling of weakness in the knee or knee buckling.

Sometimes if you have an MCL tear, you may find that it hurts to touch the inside part of your knee around the joint area. MCL injury often includes swelling to the injured area and sometimes bruising in the days following the knee injury.

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Following an MCL tear, it is generally recommended that you see a qualified health care professional like a board certified orthopedic doctor for a thorough examination and treatment recommendations.

Treatment to help an MCL tear includes putting ice on the injury, keeping your knee raised for an extended period of time above the heart, and reducing physical activity in order to avoid causing further damage.

You may also be required to wear a special brace and/or use crutches, depending on the severity of your medial collateral ligament tear. Sometimes physical therapy is also recommended to facilitate enhanced knee strength, especially if you have been sidelined by an MCL injury for an extended period of time. Physical therapy can be helpful to prevent additional injuries coming from the MCL injury.

If you think you may be suffering from an MCL injury, it is advisable that you seek out a medical assessment from your physician. A doctor specializing in knee injuries and sports medicine like an orthopedic surgeon may be particularly helpful in assessing your knee pain and the severity of your MCL injury.


Source by Stacie L. Grossfeld, MD

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