What is a Fibular Collateral Ligament Injury (FCL Injury)?
The FCL, or fibular collateral ligament, is located on the outside of the knee and helps stabilize the knee during lateral movements. This ligament is also referred to as the LCL (lateral collateral ligament) because it is located on the lateral (outside) side of the knee. The FCL is comprised of fibers that prevent the outer surfaces of the knee from opening or gapping, and allows the knee to complete side-to-side activities. An FCL injury is common among athletes who perform side-to-side movements such as ice hockey players. Dr. Jeff Padalecki, Austin, Round Rock, and Cedar Park, Texas communities orthopedic knee specialist, is highly trained and experienced at treating numerous knee injuries, such as a torn FCL.
The FCL is more flexible than its ACL or MCL counterparts, and typically less susceptible to injury. An injury to this ligament often occurs from pressure or an impact to the inside of the knee, thereby stressing the outside part of the knee joint. Typically if you injure the FCL, you tend to injure other structures in the knee as well.
What are the Symptoms of an FCL Injury?
Swelling and pain along the outside of the knee are the most common symptoms of an FCL injury. The knee may feel unstable or as if it is going to give way with certain movements. The pain is most intense on the outside of the knee, but the entire knee can swell because of the injury.
How is an FCL Injury Diagnosed?
Dr. Padalecki will conduct a series of tests and a thorough examination of the knee to check for pain, stability, and range of motion. If an FCL knee injury is thought to be the diagnosis, additional imaging tests will be ordered which will likely include stress X-rays and an MRI. The FCL ligament rarely heals when it is completely torn but can heal if it is only partially torn. This healing can sometimes take up to 8 weeks. This aspect of this injury makes the clinical exam very important and is the reason why MRI scans are used so that if a complete tear exists, Dr. Padalecki can consider reconstruction surgery as an early option.