Most MCL injuries occur during sports, often when the outside of the leg is hit, causing stretching of the MCL ligament on the inside of the knee. MCL injuries also occur in about 25% of all skiing injuries, and can occur even with slow speed falls. They can range from a mild sprain (Grade 1) to a complete rupture (Grade 3). Severe injuries may be associated with a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
Pain is usually sited over the inner part of the knee, and is worse when straightening the knee and on walking. The amount of swelling and how quickly it occurs is often proportional to the degree of injury.
As with most injuries the immediate treatment is rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE).
Treatment will depend upon the degree of injury. Careful assessment by your doctor is important to decide the most appropriate treatment. This may just be rehabilitation, and may involve wearing a brace with limited weight bearing for a period of time. The MCL has good healing potential and surgery is rarely required, but in severe cases, surgery may be required to repair or reconstruct the ligament.
If surgery is required this may be repair of the ligament, but may involve reinforcement of the ligament with a graft.
The main aim of rehabilitation is return to function with a stable knee.
It is important to regain a full range of movement as early as possible,
but this may be delayed if the injury is more severe and requires bracing