Collateral Ligament Injuries

The collateral ligaments of the knee are the MCL (medial collateral ligament) and the LCL (lateral collateral ligament).

Collateral Ligament Injuries

The collateral ligaments of the knee are the MCL (medial collateral ligament) and the LCL (lateral collateral ligament). These ligaments are found on the sides of you knee joint — the MCL connects the thighbone (femur) to the shinbone (tibia) whereas the LCL connects the thighbone (femur) to a smaller bone in the lower leg (fibula). These ligaments together control sideways motion and brace the knee against unusual movement. Injuries to these ligaments are graded where a Grade 1 Sprain is a mild injury and a Grade 3 Sprain is a complete tear. These injuries are often caused by unusual sideways force to the knee. The MCL is more commonly injured than the LCL, usually from blows to the outside of the knee forcing the knee inwards. Pain, swelling and instability are the predominant symptoms associated with these injuries. A thorough physical exam will help make this diagnosis, but an MRI may be obtained to visualize the extent of the injury. MCL injuries rarely require surgery and are often treated with rest, ice, NSAIDs, bracing and physical therapy. If the collateral ligaments are torn in a way that does not promote healing or in conjunction with other ligamentous injuries, reconstructive surgery may be indicated. Progressive rehabilitative therapy will be an important part of the recovery process.

Collateral Ligament Injuries

(Courtesy: www.aaos.org)

Left to right: MCL Tear, ACL Tear

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As our patient, you will have an in-depth consultation with one of our doctors. We will create an individualized treatment plan together, tailored to your problem and lifestyle. Our doctors prefer non-invasive treatments whenever possible, including physical therapy and/or injections. If your problem ultimately does require surgery, our doctors prefer the least invasive surgical techniques possible. Our goals are the same as yours: to get you back to living your best life, pain free. 

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