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Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Injury

  • What is Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Injury?

    The Medial Collateral Ligament goes from the inside of the upper shin bone (Tibia) to the inside of the bottom of the thigh bone (Femur). The Medial Collateral Ligament keeps your shin bone stable. Injury to this ligament can be a stretch, partial tear or complete tear.

    There are three grades of Medial Collateral Ligament Injury:

    • Grade 1 Injury — Incomplete tear of the ligament with mild symptoms
    • Grade 2 Injury — Incomplete tear with instability and moderate symptoms
    • Grade 3 Injury — Complete tear with instability and severe symptoms; other ligaments in the knee may also be torn
  • The Medial Collateral Ligament is usually injured by pressure or stress to the outside part of the knee. This force causes the outside of the knee to buckle, and the inside to widen. When the medial collateral ligament is stretched too far, it is susceptible to tearing and injury. This injury can be caused by the action of ‘clipping’ in a football game.

  • Symptoms of a tear in the Medial Collateral Ligament are:

    • Instability — The knee gives way or feeling like it is going to give way
    • Knee swelling
    • Locking or catching of the knee with movement
    • Pain and tenderness along the inside of the joint
  • Treatment includes:

    • Applying ice to the area to reduce pain and inflammation
    • Limiting physical activity until the pain and swelling subside
    • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain and inflammation
    • Raising the knee above heart level to reduce swelling
    • Resting the leg to reduce swelling
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