Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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MCL Sprain Overview

Another name for MCL Sprain is Medial Collateral Knee Injury.

What is a medial collateral knee injury?
A person with a medial collateral knee injury has injured a ligament on the side of the joint, along the inner aspect of the knee. An injured ligament is also called a sprain. The medical collateral ligament is a strong fibrous band that connects the end of the femur with the top of the tibia. This ligament prevents the joint from widening or "opening up" along the inner aspect of the knee. Injuries to the medial collateral ligament may occur with injuries to other ligaments or cartilage in the knee. The medial collateral ligament is often injured in combination with the anterior cruciate ligament and the medial meniscus cartilage.

What are the symptoms of a medial collateral knee injury?
Symptoms of a medial collateral knee injury include knee pain that worsens with movement. Other symptoms include knee tenderness, knee bruising, knee swelling, knee instability, and a knee that may suddenly buckle or give out.

How does the doctor treat a medial collateral knee injury?
The treatment for a medial collateral knee injury varies with the severity of the ligament injury. Treatment of an acute knee sprain may include cold compresses, rest, elevation, crutches, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain. Some may benefit from an elastic wrap, splint, or surgery. Most injuries heal without surgery, but some grade 3 sprains may require surgery.

Continue to MCL Sprain Symptoms

Last Updated: Nov 15, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed MCL Sprain References
  1. Beynnon BD, Johnson RJ, Abate JA, Fleming BC, Nichols CE. Treatment of anterior cruciate ligament injuries, part I. Am J Sports Med. 2005 Oct;33(10):1579-602. [16199611]
  2. Boutin RD, Fritz RC. MRI of snow skiing and snowboarding injuries. Semin Musculoskelet Radiol. 2005 Dec;9(4):360-78. [16315118]
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