What is Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Injury?
The ligament which travels from the upper shin bone (tibia) to the inside of the bottom of the thigh bone (femur) is caleb the Medial Collateral Ligament and helps keep your shin bones stable. Injury to this ligament can range from a minor stretch to partial tear or even 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
MCL injuries are usually caused by pressure or stress to the outer part of the knee especially when a force causes the outside of the knee to buckle and the inside to widen. When the Medial Collateral Ligament is stretched too far, it becomes susceptible to tearing and injury.
Symptoms of a tear in the Medial Collateral Ligament depend greatly on the degree of injury and can include:
- Instability where 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 options are also highly dependent on the degree of injury and can range from a combination of:
- 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