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MCL Tear Symptoms and Treatment Options

mcl tear symptoms

The MCL, medial collateral ligament, is a ligament located on the inside of the knee. Often, when the knee is hit directly on the outside causing the inside to stretch, the MCL tears. MCL tear symptoms may look similar to injuries to other ligaments in the knee. Read below to learn about signs and symptoms of an mcl tear and how to treat it.

What are MCL Tear Symptoms?

There are a few tell-tale signs and symptoms of an mcl tear, which can include:

  • Popping sound at time of injury
  • Pain (mild, moderate, or severe)
  • Stiffness, difficulty straightening the leg or bending the knee
  • Swelling, immediate or delayed
  • Tenderness on the inside of the knee
  • Instability or weakness of the knee
  • Damage to other ligaments in the knee

Before treatment begins, diagnosis of the tear must happen. When you schedule an appointment with an orthopedic doctor, he will ask you some questions and perform a physical exam. These questions include: how the knee was injured, your history of injuries, how your knee feels, and your goals. The physical exam will include a comparison between knees, feeling the knee for swelling and location of tenderness, and testing strength and pain levels. Sometimes an MRI will be necessary to get a good look at the ligament. If a tear is present, the doctor will classify it within three grades:

  • 1: some tenderness and a little pain
  • 2: looseness in the knee, a lot of pain, swelling
  • 3: extreme pain in the knee, swelling, instability

What are your Treatment Options?

Once the doctor diagnoses the tear, treatment begins. The doctor will discuss your options based on the grade of your injury. Depending on severity, you may only need rest and physical therapy, or surgery for a more severe case. As your doctor explains your options, he can help you decide which is best for your goals.

Think you might have an MCL or ligament tear? Contact Lake Pointe Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine for a consultation.

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