Medial Collateral Ligament Injury (MCL)
The medial collateral ligament (MCL) in the knee is a wide band of thick tissue that extends down the inner part of the knee from the thigh bone (femur) to a point on the shin bone (tibia) about four to six inches from the knee. The MCL’s main function is to prevent the leg from extending too far inward, keeping the knee stable and allowing it to rotate.
- Sensation of weakness in the knee
- Tenderness along the inside of the knee
The medial collateral ligament is most likely to be damaged when the knee sustains a hit to the outer side. Often times, an impact like this can damage both the medial collateral ligament and anterior cruciate ligament.
Following an evaluation of the injury, it may be categorized using the following scale:
- Grade 1: Some tenderness and minor pain at the point of the injury.
- Grade 2: Noticeable looseness in the knee when moved by hand; major pain and tenderness at the inside of the knee; swelling, in some cases.
- Grade 3: Considerable pain and tenderness at the inside of the knee; some swelling and marked joint instability. The knee opens up when the doctor moves your leg around. A grade three MCL tear often occurs along with a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament.
In most cases, an injury to the medial collateral ligament heals using non-surgical therapies. Depending on the injury’s severity, relief and healing may occur by resting the knee, wearing a brace, and through the use of over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetomenophen. A physical therapy program may also promote complete healing.
Contact Orthopedic Solutions for a complete evaluation.