The Medial Collateral ligament (MCL) is a thick band of fibrous tissue on the inside aspect of your knee. It runs from the thigh bone to the shin bone and is an extremely valuable stabiliser of the knee. It is more common in men than women and is the most common ligament injury to the knee. It is quite common in sports like soccer, football, rugby and skiing.
What Causes a MCL injury?
MCL sprains are traumatic in nature. They can be caused by a direct blow to the outside of the knee or a twisting injury when the foot is planted. They are normally associated with high forces so it is possible to injure other tissues like the ACL also.
Do I Have an MCL Injury?
You likely have pain on the inside of your knee after sustaining a trauma. The MCL is quite a large ligament so it will likely be hot and swollen as well. If you have a MCL injury it’s worth having a doctor or physio assess it to rule out any other injuries and identify the appropriate rehab.
Most people will benefit from physiotherapy after injuring their MCL. Initially this will focus on reducing pain and returning normal motion to the knee. Once suitable you will commence a rehab program focusing on strengthening and knee control. A brace may offer some comfort initially but the aim of rehab is to get you back to normal. Depending on the extent of an injury it can take between 2 and 12 weeks for this to heal.
In some cases people can ‘rupture’ their MCL. If your clinician suspects this has happened they will likely recommend you speak to an orthopaedic surgeon.