A medial collateral ligament (MCL) tear or sprain is an injury due to damage to the ligament running along the inside of the knee. The ligament occupies a slightly posterior position in the knee joint and functions to prevent your knee bending inwards. Like the other knee ligaments, it connects the shin and thigh bones and helps keep the knee joint stable. MCL Injury damage can be overstretching, tearing or a rupture of the ligament. Symptoms are pain and swelling along the inner edge of the knee. Treatment of an MCL Tear is usually by resting the nee and using ice to ease the pain. This injury is similar to an LCL injury except that it occurs on the inner side of the knee instead of the outside.
What Can Cause An MCL Injury?
This injury is normally the result of a hard blow to the outer knee. Typically, this injured occurs in football or other contact sports with plenty of player to player collisions.
As with other knee ligament injuries, those on the receiving end of MCL injuries tend to be serious athletes or individuals who participate in contact sports.
MCL Injury Symptoms
An MCL tear or sprain will normally result in pain, swelling, tenderness and knee stiffness.
At the time the injury happens, the patient may also hear or sense a pop in the injured knee.
In cases of severe MCL injury, the patient will also experience knee instability. He or she may experience difficulty walking without feeling as though the knee is wobbly and can’t bear the pressure of body weight.
Treatment Of An MCL Tear Or Sprain
To treat your MCL tear or sprain, the patient may need to keep weight off the knee for a period. He or she should spend as much time as possible sitting or lying down. If the patient does need to walk a lot, using crutches to keep weight off the knee would be a good idea.
Wearing knee supports will help to support the knee and promote more rapid healing. If the MCL injury is serious, a hinged knee brace may be necessary to provide additional support.
Additional treatment measures for an MCL tear or sprain may be:
Regular application of ice or a old compress to the knee to reduce pain, swelling and inflammation;
Using NSAID medications such as aspirin for additional relief of pain, inflammation and swelling;
Wearing a compression sleeve or elastic bandage to apply compression to the knee;
Keeping the knee elevated above heart level as much as possible.
Once the MCL has started to heal, the patient may need to commence rehabilitative exercises to gradually increase his or her range of motion and strengthen the leg muscles. This will help to ensure that the patient regains full use of the knee as soon as possible.