What is a knee sprain?
A knee sprain occurs when you sustain a tear to either the MCL or LCL. There are two ligaments
important to the side-to-side stability of your knee, the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and the lateral
collateral ligament (LCL). The MCL is found on the medial (inside) of your knee, while the LCL is on the
lateral (outside) of your knee. These ligaments provide tension on your knee, preventing your knee from
How do I get a tear of a collateral ligament?
MCL injuries commonly occur when the knee is stressed in a valgus sprain (buckling towards the midline), while LCL injuries occur when the knee is stressed in a varus sprain (buckling away from the midline). These injuries can occur in conjunction with other problems such as meniscus tears, cartilage injury, and ACL
The diagnosis of your sprained knee will commonly be performed by a physician. Your orthopedic surgeon will perform a physical exam and may obtain an x-ray or MRI depending on the severity of your
What is the treatment for tears of the MCL or LCL?
Initial management of these injuries involves protecting the ligaments while they heal and maintaining
motion. You will often be provided with a knee immobilizer or a hinged knee brace. You may require
physical therapy to help rebuild your strength and range of motion. Medial collateral ligament injuries
most often are successfully treated without surgical intervention.
Should non-operative treatment fail, or you have a severe ligament injury – your surgeon may suggest a
ligament reconstruction. These ligament reconstructions are often performed with the use of your tendon
or with the use of cadaver tendons.