The MCL or Medial Collateral Ligament has a tendency to get torn when you collide with another player while you are playing. This collision results your knee to get hit hard. The MCL is present precisely on the inner edge of the knee as a band of tissue. The primary function of the MCL is to keep your knee stable by connecting the shin bone with the thigh bone. This enables you to walk in a proper and stable manner.
What are the causes of an MCL tear?
There can be various possible reasons for an MCL tear some of which are listed below:
People who are involved in playing contact sports like football or hockey, often end up hurting their MCL due to collision with one another.
Other than sports, if your knee faces such an impact where it is forced to bend or twist sideways with great force, you might suffer from an MCL tear.
What are the types of MCL tear?
An MCL injury has three grades which are as follows:
Grade I: This is the least severe type of injury among the various types of MCL tear. In this type of injury, your ligament does not tear but only gets stretched.
Grade II: This injury involves a partial tear in your Medial Collateral Ligament and is not of much seriousness although it can lead to a bit instability in your knee joint.
Grade III: This is a serious case of MCL injury when the ligament gets completely torn.
What are the symptoms of MCL tear?
The symptoms are quite similar to those that usually occur during various knee problems and that is why people usually confuse a ligament tear with a knee problem. The symptoms associated with MCL tear are listed below:
A popping sound is usually heard at the time when you got the injury.
The area around your knee joint also tends to get swollen.
Patients also experience a pain and a tenderness in the region of MCL, that is, the inner part of the knee.
You will also experience a locking feeling in your knee joint.
What are the immediate steps that you should take after an MCL tear?
There are certain immediate steps that you should keep in mind in case you face an MCL tear:
Apply some ice on the affected area. This will minimize the swelling and the pain to some extent.
You can also take some anti-inflammatory drugs that are non-steroidal.
Use crutches to walk.
Keep an elastic bandage on your knees to compress it.
What are the treatment options for an MCL tear?
You can treat your MCL tear with non-surgical methods if the tear is not so severe.
Surgery is advisable if the tear involves a major area and it cannot repair itself. To reattach the ligaments, the surgeon often uses bone staples, large stitches, suture anchor or a metal screw.
If the injury is of grade 3 and sometimes grade 2 and treatment is delayed, the reconstruction of MCL using Hamstring tendon is required
Your recovery time after a surgery will depend on the extent of the injury and the surgery done but our surgeons are the best in the country and you will be treated with great care.
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DR SHAILESH KESHAV MISHRA
Consultant Orthopedic, Joint Replacement and Arthroscopy Surgeon