MCL Tear

What is a MCL Tear?

A MCL tear in an injury to the medial collateral ligament (MCL) inside your knee joint. It happens when the outside of the knee is hit or pushed. Bending, twisting, or quickly changing direction, like when playing football or soccer or skiing, can cause a MCL tear.

MCL tears sometimes happen along with other injuries, like ACL tears.

What Are the Most Common Symptoms of a MCL Tear?

  • Pain on the inside of your knee.
  • Swelling.
  • The feeling that your knee is unstable.

What Are the Treatments for a MCL Tear?

Most MCL tears get better with rest, ice, and medicine:

  • Rest to let the MCL heal.
  • Ice to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Pain medicines: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or acetaminophen:
    • NSAIDs like ibuprofen (e.g., Advil and Motrin) help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
    • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) relieves pain.

Other treatments include:

  • A knee brace and crutches, to keep the knee stable while it heals and stop you from putting weight on your leg.
  • Physical therapy to restore function to your knee and strengthen and stabilize the leg muscles that support it.
  • Surgery to repair a severe MCL tear. This is rarely needed, unless you also hurt other parts of your knee, like the ACL or meniscus