While an MCL injury can significantly impede movement and disrupt your lifestyle, it is generally treatable. Although the recovery period largely depends on the severity of the tear, the healing process is usually quick with the appropriate treatment methods.Book Appointment
The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is one of the four main ligaments that provide stability in your knee joint. The MCL is located on the inside of your knee joint and connects the top of the shinbone to the bottom of the thigh bone.
An MCL injury is a rupture of the ligament tissues connecting the shinbone and the thigh bone.
An MCL injury typically occurs when there is a sudden forceful change in movement and direction of the knee joint or when there is a violent direct blow to your outer knee.
These situations will lead to excessive pressure on your knee joint, resulting in your MCL stretching out and potentially tearing. Examples include a sudden change in direction while running, falling or any vigorous activities that require a sudden pivot, such as football or hockey.
A physical examination of your knee may be conducted by placing it into various positions to test its range of motion. Checks for tenderness and pain by applying pressure on the inside and outside of your knee may also be performed.
Further imaging tests such as an x-ray or MRI scan may be performed to determine the severity of your injury and identify any other damages in your knee.
These diagnostic tests will help your knee specialist conclude if your knee injury is an MCL tear and eliminate other potential injuries such as a bone fracture.
There are various treatment options for an MCL injury, mainly non-surgical and surgical methods.
As the MCL is located in an area with a good blood supply, an MCL injury typically responds well to non-surgical treatment. It will heal on its own after a few weeks, especially for mild injuries (1st Grade).
For more severe MCL injuries, physical therapy may be recommended.
Surgery is rarely performed on MCL injuries. However, it may be recommended for severe cases when the torn ligament cannot repair itself naturally or when an MCL injury occurs with other ligament damage.
Senior Consultant, MBBS (Singapore), MMed (Ortho), FRCSEd (Ortho)
Dr. Ong Kee Leong is a fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon. He subspecializes in shoulder and knee, foot and ankle, hand wrist and elbow surgeries, arthroscopic sports surgery, and the management of sports-related injuries.
He has been registered with the Singapore Medical Council as a specialist in Orthopaedic Surgery since 2011.
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