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Where Is The Mcl In The Knee

Grade Iii Mcl Or Lcl Sprain Treatment

MCL Reconstruction Surgery

For most Grade III MCL and LCL sprains, doctors will use many of the same conservative treatments as they do for less severe knee sprains.

These treatments may include:

  • NSAIDs
  • Physical therapy exercises

For severe Grade III MCL and LCL sprains, doctors may perform surgery to repair the torn knee ligaments.

Recovery time for an MCL or LCL sprain is usually between four to six weeks. This may vary depending on the grade of your MCL or LCL sprain.

About Medial Collateral Ligament Injury

Along with the other ligaments in your knee, your MCL keeps your knee stable. Your MCL and your lateral collateral ligament control the sideways movement of your knee.

When the knee ligaments are stretched but not torn, this is called a sprain. Sprains are given different grades depending on how severe they are. The MCL is the most commonly injured knee ligament, often during sports such as rugby. Its common to injure one of your cruciate ligaments, or your meniscus, at the same time as your MCL.

Overview Of An Mcl Sprain

If your MCL is overextended or overtaxed, then the ligament can become sprained or torn. This injury commonly occurs while participating in sports and is usually caused by twisting, cutting, or bending movements. Additionally, a blow or tackle to the outside of the knee can also cause this condition.

An MCL sprain can cause several different symptoms, including:

  • Buckling, instability, or giving way of the leg
  • Pain on the inner portion of the knee
  • Bruising
  • Warmth, redness, or swelling in the joint
  • Difficulty fully straightening or bending the knee

Typically, your doctor will use the following classification scale to diagnose this injury:

  • Grade 1: A mild sprain causing local tenderness, but not notable instability on the inside of the knee
  • Grade 2: A partial tear to the MCL, with more diffuse pain in the knee and some instability at the joint
  • Grade 3: A complete tear of the MCL, with marked instability during valgus stresses

An MCL sprain is a significant injury that can dramatically limit your ability to play sports or go about your daily life. But, fortunately, there are treatment options that can get you back to feeling like yourself.

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How Does One Heal An Mcl Injury And How Does One Heal An Mcl Injury Fast

In general, most MCL tears do heal, especially when they occur in isolation without another ligament injury. One of the first steps is to try to decrease the swelling and bleeding in the region of the MCL tear so that one can work on knee motion and have a normal gait pattern. As long as there is some pain over the MCL, applying ice or a wrap to minimize swelling is beneficial. For MCL tears that do have gapping, we like to use a hinged knee brace to ensure that the knee does not continue to gap side-to-side and cause the MCL to heal in a stretched-out position. In addition, we have found that early knee motion, most commonly using a stationary bike, is very beneficial to help the healing MCL collagen fibers line up correctly and thicker so that they heal well. We have found that the more that one uses a stationary bike with an MCL tear, as long as it does not cause any significant pain or swelling at the knee, the faster the MCL tear tends to heal. In general, grade 1 MCL tears taken 1-2 weeks to return back to activities, grade 2 MCL tears 3-4 weeks, and grade 3 complete MCL tears taken 5-7 weeks to heal. This rehabilitation program can be very effective in getting MCLs to heal and even the MCL tears which have a low likelihood of healing can benefit from having the knee quiet down and having a less chance of becoming stiff with a surgical reconstruction or repair with this program.

Mcl Injuries Of The Knee

Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Injuries  Core EM

The medial collateral ligament, commonly referred to as the MCL, is a ligament located along the inner side of the knee. The MCL stretches from the thighbone to the shinbone and helps to stabilize the inner part of the knee. While several other ligaments and tendons, such as the hamstring tendons, provide additional support, the MCL is the most important structure that prevents the inner part of the knee from gapping open when the tibia bone is pulled outward .

The medial collateral ligament is commonly injured in soccer players as well as skiers and football players. Most injuries occur during a sliding tackle when the knee is subjected to a force that causes the tibia to bend outwards relative to the femur. An example of this is when an opposing player forcefully strikes the inside of ones lower leg and forces it out during a slide tackle. During these episodes, the MCL can be injured by itself or can be injured with the and/or the medial meniscus, which is directly connected to the MCL.

Below, explore related content or find the best doctor at HSS to suit your specific MCL condition and insurance.

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Are There Different Types Of Mcl Tears

Your healthcare provider will describe your MCL tear as one of the following three grades:

  • Grade 1: A grade 1 MCL tear is a mild tear in which less than 10% of fibers in your ligament are torn and your knee is still stable. Youll likely have some tenderness and mild pain if you have a grade 1 tear.
  • Grade 2: A grade 2 MCL tear is a moderate tear in which your MCL is partially torn usually the superficial part of your MCL. Your knee will likely be loose when its moved by hand, and youll probably have intense pain and tenderness along the inner side of your knee.
  • Grade 3: A grade 3 MCL tear is a severe tear in which your MCL is completely torn both the superficial and deep parts. Your knee will likely be very unstable and loose, and youll probably experience intense pain and tenderness. Its common for someone to have other knee injuries, especially damage to their anterior cruciate ligament , if they have a grade 3 MCL tear.

What Does One Do If An Mcl Tear Is Not Getting Better

While the majority of MCL tears do heal, the rest of them that do not heal may not be in the at risk tear types. In these circumstances, if one has gone through a well-designed rehabilitation program, there is still a small chance that the MCL tear will not heal. In these circumstances, it can be difficult to shuffle or plant side-to-side because the knee will gap open on the inside. If this is a minor nuisance, one can brace their knee for these types of activities to see if that helps them increase their overall function. If it does not let one participate in activities as one desires, one should see a physician to have a physical exam and objectively determine the amount of gapping present with bilateral valgus stress x-rays. This can be an objective means to determine if the MCL is truly completely torn and is healed in a stretched-out position that will never tighten up.

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Causes Of An Mcl Tear

Knee ligament injuries are common, especially a tear to theMedial Collateral Ligament. The MCL is one of four ligaments that helps stabilise the knee and is found on the inner side of the knee joining the femur and thetibia .

The function of the MCL is to hold the tibia and femur bones together and stop them moving apart on the inner side of the knee. This helps keep the knee nice and stable.

The two most common causes of an MCL tear are:

  • Contact: An MCL injury usually occurs when there is a force through the outer side of a bent knee, e.g. a tackle hitting the outer side of the knee. This pushes the bones apart on the inside of the knee which overstretches the ligament tearing the MCL
  • Twisting: Sudden twisting of the knee, such as changing direction quickly, particularly if you are wearing studs that fix the foot to the floor, can over-stretch the ligament, resulting in an MCL tear
  • Symptoms Of Medial Collateral Ligament Injury

    How to test the Medial Collateral ligament (MCL) of the Knee

    If youve injured your MCL, youll probably have some pain on the inside of your knee. This area may be tender to the touch too. If your injury isnt too severe, youll probably still be able to walk on it. You may have some swelling, but you dont always get this with an MCL injury. Depending on how severe your injury is, your knee may also feel a little unstable and feel like it may give way. You may get some bruising in the first few days after your injury.

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    Medicines For Medial Collateral Ligament Injury

    You can take over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, to help relieve your pain. Your doctor may prescribe stronger painkillers if your pain is really bad. As well as easing your pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen may help to reduce any inflammation and swelling. Always read the patient information that comes with your medicine, and if you have questions, ask your pharmacist or GP for advice.

    How Long Will It Take To Recover

    • A mild MCL injury or grade one sprain should take 3 to 6 weeks to make a full recovery.
    • A more severe grade 2 or grade 3 injury may take 8 to 12 weeks.

    When pain allows a full rehabilitation program of mobility, strengthening and finally functional exercises should be done to return to full fitness and prevent the injury returning.

    Our MCL sprain rehabilitation program has been created by International Rugby Physiotherapist Phil Pask and takes you step by step from injury to full fitness.

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    How Is An Mcl Tear Treated

    Most people who have an MCL tear recover from non-surgical treatment. This is because your MCL has a good blood supply, which makes it easier for your tear to heal. Non-surgical treatment for an MCL tear can include:

    • Using the RICE method: The RICE method involves resting your knee, icing your knee, wearing an elastic bandage around your knee and elevating your knee while youre resting. The RICE method helps reduce pain and swelling.
    • Taking pain relievers: Your healthcare provider may recommend taking pain relievers to help reduce pain and swelling in your knee.
    • Wearing a knee brace: Your provider may have you wear a knee brace that prevents your knee from moving side to side so that your MCL can heal.
    • Using crutches: Your provider may have you use crutches to walk so that you can limit the amount of weight you put on your affected knee.
    • Doing physical therapy: Your provider will most likely have you do physical therapy exercises to improve your strength and range of motion in your knee. Exercises may involve strengthening your thigh muscles, cycling and doing resistance exercises. If you have an MCL tear and play a sport, your healthcare team will tailor your physical therapy to the types of movements you do for the sport that you play.

    Recovery time from MCL surgery depends on a few factors, including:

    • The severity of your MCL tear.
    • The type of surgery you had.
    • If you also had surgery on other parts of your knee.
    • Your age and overall health.

    What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor

    Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Injuries

    If you have an MCL tear, it could be helpful to ask your healthcare provider the following questions:

    • What kind of MCL tear do I have?
    • What are my treatment options?
    • How long do you predict it will take me to recover?
    • What medications should I take?
    • Do I need to see a specialist?
    • Should I see a sports medicine specialist?
    • When can I return to my sport?
    • What are the pros and cons of surgery to repair my MCL tear?

    A note from Cleveland Clinic

    Although it can be upsetting to not be able to play your sport, an MCL tear will only temporarily prevent you from playing the sports and doing the activities you love. Recovering from an MCL tear depends on your willingness to follow your healthcare teams treatment plan, which will likely include resting, using crutches and committing to physical therapy. The more you commit to your treatment plan, the better your MCL will be able to heal.

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    How Are Tears In The Medial Collateral Ligament Treated

    The medial collateral ligament has a good blood supply and usually responds well to nonsurgical treatment. Depending on how bad the injury is, it may be enough to rest the knee, wear a brace, take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and have physical therapy.

    To keep the knee from moving, your doctor may recommend a lightweight cast or brace that allows your knee to move backward and forward but limits side-to-side motion. This usually is recommended for 72 hours. Depending on how well your pain and swelling improve, you may be able to start a rehabilitative program in a few days.

    Once pain and swelling have gone down, you should be able to start exercises to restore strength and normal range of motion to your knee. If you are still sore while doing exercises, you should proceed slowly to prevent further irritation. It may take a week to eight weeks to completely recover, depending on the seriousness of your injury.

    A torn medial collateral ligament is rarely treated with surgery. When surgery is done, it is usually done through a small incision on the inside of your knee. It is not done arthroscopically, since this ligament is not inside the knee joint.

    If the medial collateral ligament has been torn where it attaches to the thighbone or shinbone, the surgeon will reattach the ligament to the bone using large stitches, a metal screw or a bone staple. If the tear was in the middle of the ligament, the surgeon will sew the torn ends together.

    What Diet Should One Be On For An Mcl Tear

    A well-balanced diet would be indicated for treating an MCL tear. In general, there is no specific food substance which helps to make an MCL heal sooner. However, the avoidance of nicotine or tobacco products would be indicated because these have been demonstrated to slow orthopaedic injury healing.

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    Lateral Collateral Ligament Injury

    Your LCL connects the bottom of your femur to the top of your fibula on the outside of your knee.

    It is responsible for providing stability to the outside of your knee.

    An LCL injury occurs when that ligament is stretched or torn.

    Concerned about a knee injury? Book an assessment with a physiotherapist today.

    How Is A Medial Collateral Ligament Tear Diagnosed

    Torn MCL / Sprained Knee

    To diagnose a torn MCL, health care providers ask about the injury and do an exam. During the exam, the health care provider presses on the knee and legs and moves them in certain ways. This can help show if the MCL is torn.

    Imaging tests done can include:

    • X-rays to check for injuries to the bones
    • sometimes, an MRI to check if the tear is partial or complete and to see if the knee has other injuries

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    How Is An Mcl Tear Diagnosed

    In most cases, a healthcare provider can tell if you have a torn MCL by doing a physical exam on your knee. If your provider thinks you may have an MCL tear, they’ll bend your knee and apply pressure on it to see if your knee is loose. Your provider may have you undergo imaging tests to make sure you dont have any other injuries in your knee and to see how severe your MCL tear is.

    Surgery For A Brighter Future

    Both ligaments can benefit from ligament reconstruction surgery. Athletes, in particular, must get surgery if the goal is to perform at a high level again. Luckily, advancements in surgical procedures mean that these repairs are now minimally invasive. Using 2-3 incisions the size of buttonholes, a surgeon can remove the damaged ligament. From there, the surgeon installs a replacement tendon from a donor or other part of the body. Knee ligament repair requires extensive physical therapy, with recovery going as long as 12 months.

    Go beyond walking with ligament repair

    Full tears of the ACL and MCL are serious and can affect future movement. If the MCL or ACL tears, the result is usually pain, swelling, stiffness, and instability. In most cases, the injured person can still walk with the torn knee ligament. But the movement will be severely limited, not to mention painful. Surgery may be the best route to a pain-free life, with amazing success rates. If someone suspects a damaged ACL or MCL seek immediate medical attention.

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    What Causes An Mcl Tear

    Sudden and forceful turning, twisting and cutting can cause MCL tears. A direct blow to the outer side of your knee can also cause an MCL tear. MCL tears are most common in people who play certain sports like skiing, football, basketball and volleyball.

    The following situations can cause an MCL tear:

    • Planting one foot into the ground and forcefully shifting direction .
    • When something or someone hits your knee on its outer side, such as from a football tackle.
    • Squatting or lifting heavy objects.
    • Landing awkwardly on your knee after a jump.
    • Hyperextending your knee. This is common in skiing.
    • Repeated pressure and stress to your knee, which causes your MCL to lose its elasticity .


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