What is it?

A sprain of the medial collateral ligament (MCL) is a common knee injury that occurs when the ligament on the inner side of the knee gets stretched or torn.
The MCL is a thick band of tissue that connects the inner side of the thigh bone (femur) to the inner side of the shin bone (tibia). It provides stability to the knee joint and helps prevent excessive inward movement of the knee. MCL sprains typically occur due to a direct blow to the outer side of the knee or from twisting or bending the knee beyond its normal range of motion.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Medial collateral ligament

Signs & symptoms

The symptoms of an MCL sprain may include:

- Pain and tenderness on the inner side of the knee.
- Swelling and inflammation around the knee joint.
- Difficulty or pain while walking or bearing weight on the affected leg.
- Joint stiffness and decreased range of motion.
- Instability or a feeling of the knee "giving way".


To diagnose an MCL sprain, a healthcare professional will perform a physical examination of the knee, checking for tenderness, swelling, and stability. They may also order imaging tests such as X-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to rule out other injuries or assess the severity of the sprain.


The treatment approach for an MCL sprain depends on the severity of the injury. Conservative treatment methods are typically effective and may include:

- Resting the knee and avoiding activities that exacerbate pain.
- Applying ice packs to reduce swelling.
- Compression using a knee brace or bandage.
- Elevation of the leg to minimize swelling.
- Physical therapy exercises to strengthen the knee and restore range of motion.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to manage pain and inflammation.
- In more severe cases, such as complete tears or combined injuries, surgery may be necessary to repair or reconstruct the MCL. However, surgical intervention is less common for isolated MCL sprains.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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