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MCL Injury


MCL Injury Q&A

What is a Medial Collateral Ligament?

One of the ligaments of the knee joint is called the medial collateral ligament (MCL). A ligament maintains bones and cartilage together by acting as a robust and flexible ring of tissue.
The area of the knee closest to the other knee is where the MCL is located. It joins the top of the shinbone to the bottom of the thigh bone. The MCL aids in preventing side-to-side knee movement.


What are the Causes of an MCL Injury?

MCL rips or tears can result in abrupt, violent rotation, twisting, and "cutting." Damage to the outside of the knee can also cause an MCL tear. MCL tears are more frequent in athletes who participate in sports like basketball, volleyball, football, skiing, and other team sports.

These are the causes of MCL injuries:

  • One foot that was placed firmly on the ground, stiffly changes course.
  • Outside of your knee is struck by something or someone.
  • Lifting of heavy objects.
  • Awkward landing on your knee.
  • Overstretching of your knee.
  • Your knee is subjected to repeated strain and stress.

What are the Symptoms of MCL Injuries?

Depending on how extensive your MCL tear is, your symptoms may include:

  • A popping sound when injured.
  • Pain in your knee.
  • Tenderness on the inner side of your knee.
  • Stiffness and swelling of your knee.
  • The feeling of your knee “giving out” if you put weight on it.

What are the Diagnoses for MCL Injury?

To identify an MCL tear, your doctor may conduct one or more of the following tests:

  • Physical exam: Your healthcare professional will inspect your knee and feel the inside for any pain. Moreover, they'll exert pressure on your MCL to test if it's loose, which frequently indicates that it is torn.
  • MRI: A large magnet, radio waves, and a computer are used in an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to create precise images of your organs and bones. It can assist your doctor in determining whether you have other soft tissue problems in your knee.
  • Ultrasound: To obtain photographs within your body, ultrasound uses sound waves. Your doctor can assess the extent of your MCL tear and any further knee problems with an ultrasound.
  • X-ray: To be sure you don't have any broken bones or other problems in your knee, your doctor could take an X-ray of it.

What are the Common Treatments for MCL injuries?

The majority of patients with an MCL tear recovery without surgery. This is so that the tear can repair more quickly since your MCL has a healthy blood supply. The MCL tear treatment options include:

  • RICE method: The RICE approach includes resting, applying ice to your knee, compressing it with a bandage, and elevating your knee by resting. The RICE technique helps in reducing swelling and pain.
  • Pain medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, sometimes known as NSAIDs, may be prescribed by your doctor to treat your knee pain and swelling.
  • Brace & crutches: Your doctor could advise you to wear a knee brace to stop your knee from turning so that your MCL can heal. Also, to reduce the weight on your injured knee, your doctor may advise you to walk using crutches.

MCL Risks Factors and Prevalence

You are more likely to have an MCL tear if you participate in specific sports, such as football, soccer, or skiing, or if you've previously experienced one. Although not all MCL rips are avoidable, you can take precautions to lessen your risk of doing so. Braces have been demonstrated to minimize MCL injuries in football linemen.

Our Approach to MCL Injury

If you suspect you have an ACL tear or other ACL injury, it is important to contact your physician immediately. At Eastside Family Health Center, our physician performs comprehensive evaluation to determine the source of the pain or injury and take steps to control the pain then treat for a long-term.

Ultrasound, physical evaluations, and balance tests may be used as part of evolution. Post a thorough evaluation, you would be recommended an appropriate treatment plan to ease pain and increase the speed of recovery. This may include a series of MSK injections, IV Therapy, physical rehab, and routine follow-up visits. Contact our office to learn more about our approach at 425-899-2525.


Eastside Family Health Center
11415 Slater Avenue NE, Suite 102
Kirkland, WA 98033
Phone: 425-899-2525

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