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Sai Institute of Sports Injury

Collateral Ligament Treatment

Collateral Ligament Injuries

These are the most common sports injuries. The medial collateral ligament (MCL) and lateral collateral ligament (LCL) are found on either side of your knee joint.

Common people effected are: Athletes who participate in direct contact sports like football or soccer ..


Three thigh bone, shin and knee cap are connected to each other by ligaments. There are four primary ligaments in your knee. They act like strong ropes to hold the bones together and maintain the stability of thge knee.

Cruciate Ligaments

These are found inside the knee joint. They cross each other in the shape of "X" with the anterior cruciate ligament in the front and posterior cruciate ligament in the back. The cruciate ligaments control the back and forth movements of knee joint.

Collateral Ligaments

These are found on either side of the knee. The medial collateral ligament (MCL) connects the inside of femur to the inside of tibia. The lateral collateral ligament (LCL) connects the outside of femur to the smaller bone in the lower leg (fibula). The collateral ligaments control the sideways movement of your knee and protect from unusual movement.

Because the knee joint depends only on these ligaments and surrounding muscles for stability, it is injured very easily. Direct contact to the knee or extreme muscle contraction - such as changing direction swiftly while running or sudden twisting injury - can injure a knee ligament.

Injurey to ligaments are called "sprains" and are graded on a severity scale.

Grade 1 Sprains. The ligament is mildly damaged. It has been slightly stretched, but is still able to maintain the joint stability.

Grade 2 Sprains. The ligament is stretched to an extent where it becomes loose. known as partial tear.

Grade 3 Sprains. This is a complete tear of the ligament. The ligament is cut into two pieces, and the knee joint is unstable.

The Medial Collateral Ligament is injured more frequently compared to the Lateral Collateral Ligament.


The forces which push the knee to sideways injures the collateral ligaments.Medial collateral ligament tears often occur as a result of a direct blow to the outside of the knee. This pushes the knee inwards Blows to the inside of the knee that push the knee outwards may injure the lateral collateral ligament.


  • Pain : If there is an MCL injury, the pain is on the inside of the knee; an LCL injury may cause pain on the outside of the knee.
  • Swelling.
  • Instability - the feeling that your knee is giving way.

Medial collateral ligament Treatment

Injuries to the MCL mostly does not require surgery. If it is an isolated LCL injury, treatment is similar to the treatment of an MCL sprain.

Complete tear of MCL (left) and LCL (right)

Nonsurgical Treatment

Ice : This is the most important in the healing process. The proper way to apply ice packing to an injury is to use crushed ice directly to the injured area for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, with at least 1 hour between icing sessions. Chemical cold products ("blue" ice) should be avoided placing directly on the skin and are not very effective.

Bracing : Braces and crutches are advised to protect the knee and to keep the weight off from the leg.

Physical Therapy : Strengthening exercises are recommended to strengthen the knee. Specific exercises will help restore function to your knee and strengthen the leg muscles that support it.

Medial collateral ligament Surgery

Most isolated collateral ligament injuries can be successfully treated without surgery. If the collateral ligament is torn in such a way that it cannot heal or is associated with other ligament injuries, then surgery is recommended.

Return to sports is gradual and progressive .Once your range of motion returns and you can walk without a limp, we may allow functional progression.