Lateral collateral ligament injury (LCL)

Lateral Collateral Ligament Injury (LCL)

LCL injuries are less common than MCL injuries and are more often associated with a significant trauma to the knee.  When it does occur in isolation this normally requires a force to the inside aspect of the thigh or knee. The knee joint will be painful and tender on the outside aspect.

How do manage / treat my LCL injury?


Protect the knee by not exposing it to the same activity
Rest .This should be relative not absolute and maintain your range of movement but do not confine yourself to bed
Ice – use ice packs for up to 20 minutes every 2 – 3 hours that you are awake
Compression – if you have access to some tubi-grip of the correct size use it
Elevation – when resting try elevating the knee slightly up a pillow length ways so it is above the height of the hip
Drugs – painkillers such as paracetamol provide good relief, debate remains on the use of anti-inflammatory drugs in the first 48 hours, as although all these steps are designed to control swelling/inflammation some swelling is still required as this is the body's injury response mechanism so it may delay the overall healing process in the longer term
Most simple LCL sprains will recover in 2-4 weeks if this does not happen ask your GP to refer you to PhysioHey

What else might help my recovery?

In most cases advice is all that is needed to aid recovery but this depends on the severity of the injury
Strengthening exercises may be required
Supporting the knee in a brace may help  (usually on partial ruptures or for those individuals who can not avoid aggravating factors due to occupation etc)