Your LCL (lateral collateral ligament) and MCL (medial collateral ligament) are 2 separate ligaments that attach on the outer and inner sides of the knee providing stability.
What is a LCL and MCL injury?
Your LCL and MCL are your collateral ligaments which lie on both sides of your knee. They prevent excessive bending of the knee to the left and right.
A LCL or MCL injury describes any injury to either ligament and can be categorised into 3 grades:
Grade 1: mild damage
Grade 2: partial ligament tear
Grade 3: complete ligament tear
What causes a LCL and MCL injury?
Your knee joint relies heavily on the surrounding ligaments to support it and therefore it is easily injured if one of these ligaments becomes damaged.
The collateral ligaments are often damaged by a force pushing the knee sideways and are frequently contact injuries.
Medial collateral ligament injuries can happen due to a direct blow to the outer aspect of the knee pushing the knee in towards the other knee
Forcing the knee outwards due to an injury directly on the inside of the knee can cause injury to your lateral collateral ligament.
What are the symptoms of a LCL and MCL injury?
Some common symptoms of a LCL and MCL injury include:
- An MCL injury would cause pain on the inner aspect of your knee and an LCL injury would cause pain on the outer aspect of your knee.
- Swelling over the injury site
- Knee instability- you may feel your knee is going to give way
How is a LCL and MCL injury diagnosed?
Your physiotherapist can provide a full knee assessment to determine if you have injured your LCL or MCL or if there is something else that is causing your knee problems. You may be sent for an MRI scan by your doctor to confirm the diagnosis, see the extent of the injury and assess whether any other structures have been damaged.
What treatment can Farrell Physiotherapy offer for a LCL and MCL injury?
There are different treatment options depending on the severity of your ligament injury and also whether or not it is being managed conservatively or with surgery.
- Functional activities based on everyday activities
- Progressive strengthening exercises
- Ice/heat therapy
- Balance training
- Range of movement exercises
- Strengthening exercises
Benefit of physiotherapy for a LCL and MCL injury?
Physiotherapy is important in order to properly rehabilitate your knee and ensure the safest and quickest recovery.
Physiotherapy leads to:
- Reduced pain
- Reduced swelling
- Improved range of movement
- Increased muscle strength
- Improved balance and proprioception
- Enhanced general fitness
- Promotion of healing and a quicker return to sports
- Promotion of independence with activities of daily living