The medial collateral ligament or MCL is one of four ligaments that provide stability to the knee joint. These four ligaments include:
- The anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments (ACL and PCL)
- The medial and lateral collateral ligaments (MCL and LCL)
The MCL runs along the inside of the knee joint and prevents the joint for bending inward. During sports, the MCL can be damaged by a blow to the outside of the knee joint that stretches and tears this ligament on the inner side of the knee. Due to the nature of the force that damages the MCL, the ACL is often injured along with an MCL injury. Both the ACL and MCL are more easily injured than the LCL or PCL.
MCL Injury Treatment
Treatment for an MCL injury depends upon the extent of the damage. Minor sprains will heal with rest and conservative treatment. A severely sprained or torn MCL can take 3-4 months to heal completely. If the ACL is torn along with the MCL injury, arthroscopic surgery is often required to repair the ligament.