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. It is most likely to be damaged when the knee sustains a hit to the outer side. Oftentimes, an impact like this can damage both the medial collateral ligament and 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 anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen. A physical therapy program may also help to promote complete healing.