According to statistics, approximately 42% of knee injuries are related to MCL, or Medial Collateral Ligament tear or sprain. In the U.S., 74,000 people report ligament injury every year, especially high school students and sportspersons.
While playing a sport (particularly football) players/students often get hit. When the side of the knee gets hit hard, it might damage the MCL.
But, what exactly is MCL? Let’s find out!
Medial Collateral Ligament
It is a tissue band that runs along the inner side of your knee. It helps keep your knee stable by connecting your shin and thigh bones.
When your MCL is injured, your knee might overextend or bend too far, making walking or even standing very painful and uncomfortable. Fortunately, with simple care, rest, and therapy, you can make a proper recovery. However, if the damage is severe, you might need to get surgery.
- Popping sound during the injury. It is generally a sign of grade ii or grade iii tear.
- Sharp pain in the inner edge of the knee.
- Swelling that might get worse if left untreated.
- The knee area is painful to touch immediately after the injury or unbearable pain after a few hours of the incident.
- Bruising around the knee, particularly where the MCL is located (inner knee).
- When walking, a person may notice looseness around the inner knee.
- Challenging to bend or straighten the knee as well as discomfort during walking or climbing stairs.
While certain symptoms, such as swelling and pain, emerge quickly after an MCL injury, others, such as bruising, may arise or worsen in the days following the injury.
Luckily, MCL injuries are usually not connected to progressive knee problems like osteoarthritis. Also, the majority of MCL sprains and tears recover quickly. Only a small percentage of patients may develop a chronic injury, which means the symptoms last for three months. Therefore it is essential to visit the knee surgeon immediately. They will help identify whether the ligament is torn or sprained and help you get better soon.
Difference Between MCL Tear And Sprain
A sprain stretches the ligament, resulting in a loose knee. While a tear is more serious damage that causes the ligament to cut in two. When the MCL is torn, you might not be able to keep the knee in place. So, you might require further treatment.
To check the severity of the injury, doctors generally conduct image testing, i.e., X-ray, MRI, and Stress X-ray.
If you have a slight MCL strain- rest, ice, and proper self-care can help you recover on your own. When applying ice to a painful knee, take your weight off the joint and use a knee brace or elastic bandage to cover and compress the wound.
Your doctor may prescribe NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications) to relieve pain and swelling.
When your MCL discomfort fades, you may require physical therapy to rehab your knee. Your physical therapist will teach you techniques to strengthen the leg muscles surrounding your knee so that it can function correctly.
It is essential to take immediate treatment to avoid any further damage to the knee. Also, if you have any doubts, you must ask your doctor the same.