What is the MCL?
The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is a tough band of tissue, like a wide rubber band, that controls the side-to-side motion of the knee joint located on the inside of the knee. There are two collateral ligaments in the joint, one for each side of the knee.
The lateral collateral ligament (LCL) is on the outside of the knee. Medial collateral ligament injury treatment is a common practice in orthopaedic offices.
How Do MCL Tears Happen?
When either collateral ligament on either side of the knee is stretched too far, they can tear. Tears can occur in the middle of the ligament or closer to where it attaches to the bone.
It is quite common to tear other ligaments in addition to the MCL. Many people, when they tear their MCL, also tear their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) as well. Skiers often sustain this injury, so we see them often here in the mountains of Vail and Summit County.
MCL injuries are much more common than LCL injuries. MCL injuries occur most often while participating in sports such as football or skiing. When the lower leg is forced sideways, the strain on the MCL may cause it to stretch too far or tear.