Medial collateral ligament injury


Medial collateral ligament injury

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

Ligaments are like strong ropes that help to connect bones together and provide stability to joints. The medial collateral ligament (MCL) connects the femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (shin bone) and provides stability to the inner side of the knee.

You can hurt your MCL during activities that involve bending, twisting, or a quick change of direction. For example, the MCL can be injured in football or soccer when the outside of the knee is hit. This type of injury can also occur during skiing and in other sports with lots of stop-and-go movements, jumping, or weaving.

Grades:

    Grade I: This is an incomplete tear of the MCL. The tendon is still in continuity, and the symptoms are usually minimal. Patients usually complain of pain with pressure on the MCL, and may be able to return to their sport very quickly. Most athletes miss 1-2 weeks of play.

  • Grade II: Grade II injuries are also considered incomplete tears of the MCL. These patients may complain of instability when attempting to cut or pivot. The pain and swelling is more significant, and usually a period of 3-4 weeks of rest is necessary.

  • Grade III: A grade III injury is a complete tear of the MCL. Patients have significant pain and swelling, and often have difficulty bending the knee. Instability, or giving out, is a common finding with grade III MCL tears. A knee brace or a knee immobilizer is usually needed for comfort, and healing may take 6 weeks or longer.

These types of injuries are very common in Sports.

Symptoms:

Symptoms of a tear in the medial collateral ligament injury are:

    Knee swelling.

  • Locking or catching of the knee with movement.

  • Pain and tenderness along the inside of the joint.

  • The knee gives way or feels like it is going to give way when it is active or stressed in a certain way.

  • You may feel feverish.

Diagnosis:

The Bone specialist will examine your knee. An MCL test will be done to detect looseness of the ligament. This test involves bending the knee to 25 degrees and putting pressure on the outside surface of the knee.

Other tests may include: Knee joint x-rays and in rare cases MRI.

Treatment:

Treatment of an MCL injury depends on the severity of the injury. General treatment options include,

    Rest.

  • Applying ice to the area.

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

  • You should limit physical activity until the pain and swelling go away.

The health care provider may put you on crutches and in a brace to protect the ligament. You may also be told not to put any weight on your knee when you walk. After a period of keeping the knee still, you will be taught exercises to strengthen and stretch the knee. Physical therapy may help you regain knee and leg strength.

    Grade 1 injuries usually get better in 1 to 3 weeks and may only need home treatment along with using crutches for a short time.

  • Grade 2 injuries usually get better in about a month. You may need to wear a hinged knee brace and limit how much weight you put on your leg.

  • Grade 3 injuries may require wearing a hinged brace for a few months, and limiting weight on the leg for 4 to 6 weeks.

If you need surgery, it will be done using arthroscopy, through a small surgical cut. There are no major risks.

NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.

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