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Collateral ligament injury of the knee

The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is situated on the inward part of your knee, yet it's located outside the joint itself. Tendons hold bones together and add solidness and firmness to a joint. The MCL comprises the highest point of the tibia (shinbone) and connects it with the base of the femur (thighbone).

Damage to the MCL is regularly called an MCL sprain. The injuries associated with ligament can either stretch it or damage or tear it. An immediate hit to the knee typically causes MCL damage of the knee. This sort of damage is normal in contact sports.

It's normally the aftereffect of a hit to the external part of the knee, which tears or stretches the MCL.

MCL Injuries’ Grades

MCL injuries can be graded in levels I, II, or III:

  • Grade 1 MCL injury: It is the one that is the least severe, and in this, the ligament gets stretched a bit but doesn’t get torn.
  • Grade 2 MCL injury: In the grade II, the ligament is partially torn, and generates instability in the knee joint.
  • Grade 3 MCL injury: It involves a serious injury to a ligament and happens when ligament gets completely torn.

Treatment of the MCL Injury

The treatments associated with the Medial Collateral Ligament vary according to the severity of the injury. If there’s a slight hit to the knee and the injury isn’t severe, then most of the injuries related to MCL, heal on their own. All a patient is asked to do is to rest for a few days or weeks.

Instant treatment
It is also known as Immediate treatment and is considered, so that the patient may get relieved soon. This treatment eases the pain and instantly stabilizes the knee joint.

The instant/immediate treatment options are:

  • Keep on elevating the knee above heart level to get rid of the swelling.
  • Using ice to decrease swelling
  • Taking proper rest.
  • Compressing the knee joint with the help of an elastic.
  • Utilizing crutches so that that weight can be put off of your damaged knee.
  • In-taking NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) to reduce pain as well as swelling.


After the immediate treatment, when you enter the recovery phase, you should focus on regaining your lost strength. In order to do so, you should take the most care of yourself so that no further injury occurs at the same area.

The healing process involves:

  • Wearing a knee brace for safety while performing any physical activity.
  • Opting for physical therapy to get stronger muscles and improve the knee’s movement.
  • Not doing any activity that may again cause the similar injury.

Surgical Procedure

Any injury associated with MCL usually doesn’t require surgery. But in some rare cases, it becomes essential to operate. The surgeon has to recommend surgery when the ligament gets torn that it doesn’t get repaired on its own.

The surgeon may use arthroscopy before the operation, in order to examine the injury properly. After that, the surgeon makes a tiny incision along the inward side of the knee. According to the location from the ligament is torn, the doctor may go with bone staples, large stitches, suture anchor, or metal screw, etc. If the ligament gets ripped in the middle, then the doctor stitches it all together.

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