Medial & Lateral Collateral Ligament FAQs

How do you treat a ligament injury?

A ligament injury, if partial, is usually treated with RICE protocol (rest, ice, elevation, and compression) along with anti-inflammatory medication. A brace is also used for the period of recovery. Patient is also sent for physical therapy also to help reduce pain, begin muscle strengthening, as well as regain range of motion. If the ligament is near complete or complete, then the patient may need repair or reconstructive surgery for the ligament to regain stability of the joint.

Can a partially torn MCL heal on its own?

MCL injuries usually hear by themselves. A partially torn MCL is usually treated conservatively with the help of brace and anti-inflammatory medications, ice, elevation, and physical therapy. It may take up to eight to twelve weeks to heal.

How long does it take to recover from a sprained LCL?

It may take 8 to 12 weeks to recover from a sprained LCL. The patient may have to use brace along with walking aid if necessary. The patient may have to do activity modification as well as physical therapy to recover from sprained LCL.

Do you have to surgery for a torn LCL?

A torn LCL is usually managed without surgical management and can be treated with a brace along with rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medications. Physical therapy also has a role in management of a torn LCL. In patients who have symptoms of instability even after conservative management or if the MRI shows complete disruption of LCL, then the patient may need surgical reconstruction of the ligament.

Can you still walk with a torn ligament in your knee?

A torn ligament in the knee does cause instability. If only a single ligament is torn, patient is usually able to walk, though he may have some instability, and may need to use a brace, or crutches for support. If the patient has injury to multiple ligaments, or ligaments and meniscus, it may be difficult for the patient to walk without having a feeling of instability, or giving way, and may have episodes of falling.

What are the symptoms of a torn MCL?

Patients with torn MCL caused due to fall or injury, usually will have pain on the inner side of the knee. This pain may be worsened with certain activities like deep knee bends, running, cutting, or pivoting. Patients with MCL injury usually do not have swelling into the knee joint, though they may have swelling on the inner side of their knee.

Is surgery required for MCL tear?

Surgery is rarely required for MCL tear. Most of MCL tears are treated with bracing, and physical therapy. It may take up to eight to twelve weeks for the MCL tear to recover completely. If the tear is a high grade, then it will take longer to recover. People who are in high demand profession, or in contact sports may have to be out for eight to twelve weeks, until they are symptom free, and have recovered full range of motion, and in strength, in the knee joint. Occasionally MCL tear may be associated with Meniscus tear which may require surgical treatment to fix it.

I am Vedant Vaksha, Fellowship trained Spine, Sports and Arthroscopic Surgeon at Complete Orthopedics. I take care of patients with ailments of the neck, back, shoulder, knee, elbow and ankle. I personally approve this content, and have written most of it myself.