Medial Collateral Ligament Injury

A medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury occurs when stretching or tearing occurs in the ligament on the inner side of the knee. The MCL helps to stabilize the knee and works with the lateral collateral ligament to align the upper and lower leg and reduce excessive side-to-side movement of the knee joint.


Medial collateral ligament injuries are usually the result of a hard impact to the outer side of the knee. MCL injuries often occur in sudden movements of the knee, including bending and twisting, skiing, and hitting the outside of the knee in soccer or football.


Pain, swelling, and tenderness at the inner side of the knee are the most common symptoms. The knee can feel stiff, unstable, and weak. Some people experience locking or catching when walking and numbness or weakness in the foot.


Physicians will conduct an examination of the knee and ask about symptoms, including decreased range of movement, swelling, and tenderness. X-rays and MRIs may also be used to identify medial collateral ligament injuries.


Most medial collateral ligament injuries can be treated with rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications. Knee braces and physical therapy can also be beneficial.

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