The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is one of the knee-stabilizing ligaments, located on the inner side of the knee. An injury to this ligament is usually due to a blow to the outside of the knee that forces the knee inward. This is common is contact sports such as football and soccer.
Patients report a history of lateral impact on knee, pain with twisting and rotation of knee, and pain on inside of knee. There may be a sensation of instability or locking and popping in the knee after an MCL injury.
Treatment of MCL tears and sprains is usually non-surgical. Most resolve within four to six weeks. Initial treatment involves rest, ice, compression with a brace, and elevation until the swelling resolves. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen, Advil, Aleve, etc.) are used to control pain and inflammation. Physical therapy is also important to maintain the range of motion of the knee and strength of surrounding musculature.