Medial Collateral Ligament Sprains and Tears
Your medial collateral ligament (MCL) is the knee ligament on the medial (inner) side of your knee connecting the medial femoral condyle and the medial tibial condyle. It is one of four major knee ligaments that help to stabilise the knee joint and is a flat band of tough fibrous connective tissue composed of long, stringy collagen molecules.
Its main function is to resist valgus force, which occurs if the tibia/foot is forced outwards in relation to the knee. The MCL is injured when the (valgus) force is too great for the ligament to resist and the ligament is overstretched. This can occur through a sharp change in direction, twisting the knee whilst the foot is fixed, landing wrong from a jump, or the most common a blunt force hit to the knee, such as in football tackle. The incident usually needs to happen at speed. Muscle weakness or incoordination predispose you to a ligament sprain or tear.
The severity and symptoms of a knee ligament sprain depend on the degree of stretching or tearing of the knee ligament. You may notice an audible snap or tearing sound at the time of your ligment injury.
In a mild Grade I MCL sprain, the knee ligament has a slight stretch, but they don't actually tear and although the knee joint may not hurt or swell much, a mild ligament sprain can increase the risk of a repeat injury.
With a moderate Grade II MCL sprain, the knee ligament tears partially with knee swelling and bruising common. Use of the knee joint is usually painful and difficult and you may have some instability or a feeling of the knee giving way.
With a severe Grade III MCL sprain, the ligament tears completely, causing swelling and sometimes bleeding under the skin. As a result, the joint is unstable and can be difficult to bear weight and you may have a feeling of the knee giving way. Often there will be no pain or severe pain that subsides quickly following a grade 3 tear as all of the pain fibres are torn at the time of injury.
Treatment of an MCL injury varies depending on its severity and whether there are other combination injuries.
There are a range of treatment options available at The Regenerative Therapy Centre and we would be delighted to discuss which would be the most appropriate for you, Please click on the Get in Touch button and our friendly and responsive team will be delighted to chat.