What is a Medial Collateral Ligament Injury (MCL Injury)?
The MCL, or medial collateral ligament, is located on the inside of the knee and extends from the end of the thighbone (femur) to the top of the shin bone (tibia). The MCL provides “side to side” stability and protects against widening of the inside of the knee. An MCL injury occurs when the outside of the knee is struck, causing the knee to “cave in” – such as with a tackle in football or an awkward landing in an activity such as skiing. Austin, Round Rock, and Cedar Park, Texas residents that have experienced an MCL injury are encouraged to contact Dr. Jeff Padalecki for an orthopedic appointment. Dr. Padalecki is a knee specialist trained and highly experienced at treating knee injuries, including a torn MCL.
How are MCL Injuries Classified?
An injury to the MCL of the knee can be a stretch, a partial tear, or a complete tear of the ligament. There are 3 grades of an MCL injury:
- Grade I: Incomplete tear; the ligament is still intact but stretched, with mild pain.
- Grade II: A partial or incomplete tear; significant pain and instability when attempting to cut or pivot.
- Grade III: A complete tears of the MCL; significant pain along the medial aspect of the knee. Typically this tear occurs in combination with other injuries in the knee.
What are the Symptoms of an MCL Injury?
The most common symptom in an MCL injury is pain. Swelling may appear as well as some bruising over the joint. In more severe cases, the knee may feel unstable or as if it will give out when weight bearing.
How is an MCL Injury Diagnosed?
Dr. Padalecki will conduct a thorough examination of the knee and conduct a series of tests to check overall mobility, severity of pain and strength. A variety of tests may be utilized to determine the extent of the injury which may include stress X-rays or MRI.