Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) Injury

There are four main stabilising ligaments in the knee that connect the thighbone (femur) to the shin bone (tibia). They are:

  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
  • Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)
  • Medial collateral ligament (MCL)
  • Lateral collateral ligament (LCL)

The lateral collateral ligament is the main supporting ligament on the outside of the knee. The ligament holds the bones together to provide stability to the joint when the knee is pushed outward.

A lateral collateral ligament injury involves stretching or tearing of this ligament and is usually caused by force to the inside of the knee. This injury often occurs when participating in sports, but it can also be brought on by overuse of the joint or, in the case of an elderly person, a fall.

There are three degrees of an LCL injury:

  • First degree: Mild stretching of the ligament with no looseness
  • Second degree: Partial tear of the ligament
  • Third degree: The ligament is completely torn, and the joint is unstable

What are the symptoms of Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) injury?

Symptoms include:

  • Discomfort on the outside of the knee when tension is applied
  • Pain and swelling on the outside of the knee
  • Tenderness when the area over the affected ligament is touched
  • Weakness of the knee

How is Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) injury diagnosed?

Diagnosis is made based on various investigations. Your doctor will first evaluate your medical history and symptoms before conducting a physical examination.

In order to assess your knee function, your doctor ask you to move your knee in different directions. Imaging tests such as X-ray, MRI, and CT scan may also be done.

How is Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) injury treated?

Treatment for MCL injuries include non-surgical and surgical options, depending on the extent of injury:

  • R.I.C.E.: Rest, ice, compression with an ace bandage and elevation of the leg.
  • A brace for a few days to immobilise the knee.
  • Crutches, which may be helpful until movement and strength in the joint have improved.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Knee exercises to regain flexibility in the joint and strength in the thigh muscle; physiotherapy may be useful.
  • Surgery may be needed if the injury is severe, for example if the ligament has been torn and the knee is unstable.

Book an appointment at Pantai Hospitals

A dedicated and expert team of Orthopaedic specialists at Pantai Hospital is available for consultation to provide the best care and assistance.

Get in touch with us to book an appointment today if you have concerns or questions regarding Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) injury. We assure you the best possible care tailored to your specific needs.

Pantai Hospital has been accredited by the Malaysian Society for Quality in Health (MSQH) for its commitment to patient safety and service quality.

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