Medial collateral injury (MCL)

This ligament is strong but can be sprained or completely ruptured (torn) mechanism of injury often involve combined forces and movements such as twisting on a straight leg whilst receiving a side on impact to the knee e.g. ruby tackles and skiing injuries

This ligament is strong but can be sprained or completely ruptured (torn) mechanism of injury often involve combined forces and movements such as twisting on a straight leg whilst receiving a side on impact to the knee e.g. ruby tackles and skiing injuries.

  • Pain will be felt immediately on the inner aspect of the knee and will be tender when pressed
  • In Severe strains there may also be cartilage involvement (medial meniscus) which will cause the knee to swell rapidly

How do manage / treat my MCL injury?

PRICED Advice;

  • Protect the knee by not exposing it to the same activity
  • Rest this should be relative not absolute and maintaining 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 of the use 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 bodies injury response mechanism so it may delay the overall healing process in the longer term

Most simple MCL 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)
  • In rare cases surgery may be required this is usually arthroscopic in nature