Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) 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 medial collateral ligament is located on the side of your knee joint. It goes from the inside of the upper shin bone (tibia) to the inside of the bottom of the thigh bone (femur) and keeps your shin bone stable.

The medial collateral ligament is usually injured by pressure or stress to the outside part of the knee. This force causes the outside of the knee to buckle, and the inside to widen.

When the medial collateral ligament is stretched too far, it is susceptible to tearing and injury. This injury can be caused by the action of ‘clipping’ in a football game.

Injury to this ligament can be a stretch, partial tear, or complete tear. There are three grades of medial collateral ligament injury:

  • Grade I Injuries: Incomplete tear of the ligament with mild symptoms
  • Grade II Injuries: Incomplete tear with instability and moderate symptoms
  • Grade III Injuries: Complete tear with instability and severe symptoms; other ligaments in the knee may also be torn

What Are the Symptoms of Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Injury?

Symptoms include:

  • Instability – a feeling of the knee ‘giving way’
  • Swelling of the impacted knee
  • Locking or catching of the knee with movement
  • Pain and tenderness along the inside of the joint

How Is Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Injury Diagnosed?

Diagnosis for MCL tears 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 Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Injury Treated?

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

  • R.I.C.E therapy:
    • Resting the leg to reduce swelling.
    • Applying ice to the area to reduce pain and inflammation.
    • Raising the knee above heart level to reduce swelling.
  • Limiting physical activity and wearing knee brace until the pain and swelling subside.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Physiotherapy to strengthen the supporting muscles and increase the range of motion.
  • Depending on your situation, your doctor may recommend surgery for ligament repair.

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 medial collateral ligament injuries or other knee injuries. 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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