Medial collateral ligament (MCL) and lateral collateral ligament (LCL) sprains are knee injuries.
The MCL is the ligament located on the inside of your knee joint. It links your thighbone (femur) and shinbone (tibia).
The LCL is the ligament located on the outside of your knee linking the thighbone and calf bone (fibula).
The two most common causes of MCL sprains are when:
An LCL sprain can occur if a player applies force to the inside of your knee during contact sports.
You increase your risk of an MCL or LCL sprain if you play contact sports, like football or soccer.
To make an appointment or learn more about MCL and LCL sprains, contact UPMC Sports Medicine at 1-855-93-SPORT (77678).
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If you sprain your MCL or LCL, you may have symptoms such as:
To diagnose an MCL sprain or a LCL sprain, your doctor will take a complete history of the injury and assess your symptoms.
He or she will ask you:
Next, your doctor will perform a physical exam of the knee to check the stability of the ligaments.
He or she may also order imaging tests — such as x-rays and MRI scans — to get a precise picture of the extent of damage to your MCL or LCL.
To make an appointment or learn more about MCL and LCL sprain symptoms, contact UPMC Sports Medicine at 1-855-93-SPORT (77678).
MCL or LCL sprain treatment depends on how severe the knee injury.
Doctors grade MCL and LCL sprains based on three levels of severity:
If you have a Grade I or Grade II MCL or LCL knee sprain, your doctor will likely prescribe the following treatments:
For most Grade III MCL and LCL sprains, doctors will use many of the same conservative treatments as they do for less severe knee sprains.
These treatments may include:
For severe Grade III MCL and LCL sprains, doctors may perform surgery to repair the torn knee ligaments.
Recovery time for an MCL or LCL sprain is usually between four to six weeks. This may vary depending on the grade of your MCL or LCL sprain.
To make an appointment or learn more about MCL or LCL sprain treatments, contact UPMC Sports Medicine at 1-855-93-SPORT (77678).
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