The knee gives way or feels like it is going to give way when it is active or stressed in a certain way
The health care provider will examine your knee. An MCL test will be done to detect looseness of the ligament. This test involves bending the knee to 25 degrees and putting pressure on the outside surface of the knee.
You should limit physical activity until the pain and swelling go away.
The health care provider may put you on crutches and in a brace to protect the ligament. You may also be told not to put any weight on your knee when you walk.
After a period of keeping the knee still, you will be taught exercises to strengthen and stretch the knee. Physical therapy may help you regain knee and leg strength.
Surgery is often not needed when only the MCL has been torn.
If you need surgery, it will be done using arthroscopy, through a small surgical cut.
Call immediately for emergency medical assistance if
Call your health care provider if:
You have symptoms of MCL injury
You are being treated for MCL injury and you notice increased instability in your knee, pain or swelling after they initially faded, or your injury does not get better with time
You re-injure your knee
Use proper techniques when playing sports or exercising. Many cases are not preventable.
De Carlo M, Armstrong B. Rehabilitation of the knee following sports injury. Clin Sports Med. 2010; 29:81-106.
Singhal M, Patel J, Johnson D. Medical ligament injuries: 1. Medical collateral ligament injuries in adults. In: DeLee JC, Drez D Jr., Miller MD, eds. DeLee and Dree's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2009:chap 23;sect C.
Linda J. Vorvick, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; and C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.