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Knee Injury: Medial collateral ligament (MCL)

Medial collateral ligament (MCL) 

After that wonderful football match last evening, do you now feel your knee hurts when touched? You doubt it’s swollen today morning. Possibly you would have injured your knee ligament while locked in that fight with your opponent. Read on to find more about medial collateral ligament injury of the knee.

What is medial collateral ligament (MCL)?

Medial collateral ligament is a group of muscles located on the inner side of the knee that joins the thigh bone with the shin bone (tibia). MCL helps to keep the shin bone in place.

What is medial collateral ligament injury?

Medial collateral ligament injury is very common among children and adults who play active sports like football. During any activity, if the knee is twisted or a high impact force if applied on the external part of the knee, the ligament may get stretched or torn. This is also referred to as knee sprain or knee injury.

What are different types of medial collateral ligament injury?

Depending on the severity of injury, MCL is classified into three types:

  1. First degree injury occurs when only a few ligament fibres are damaged
  2. Second degree injury occurs when a large number of ligament fibres are damaged but they remain intact
  3. Third degree injury occurs when there is a high force applied on the ligament and it ruptures completely

What are the causes?

Medial collateral ligament injury generally occurs during rigorous activities like football, skiing and athletics. Bending, twisting and sudden quick movements that involve knee ligaments lead to injury.

What are the symptoms?

The following symptoms may appear immediately or within 24 hours of the action

  1. Swelling
  2. Pain with or without touching
  3. Tenderness
  4. Difficult to move the knee
  5. Bruising

How is medial collateral injury treated?

The treatment of the medial collateral injury involves managing pain and repairing any wear and tear of the ligament. Though most medial collateral injury is healed by restricting movement and taking adequate rest, some third degree injuries need surgery to fix the ligament back in its place.

  1. Seek medical advice immediately to avoid any further damage
  2. Take adequate rest
  3. Stop the physical activity until pain and swelling subside
  4. Use crutches and braces to protect the ligament
  5. As much as possible, avoid putting any pressure or weight on the ligament
  6. Cold compression by applying ice packs
  7. Keep the knee elevated above the heart level
  8. Seek physical therapy to restore knee strength

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