MCL Injuries

MCL injuries often occur in contact sports when the outside of the knee joint is struck. MCL injuries are commonly seen in hockey and wrestling. Other sports such as cycling, rugby, running, swimming and water polo are generally more affected by overuse injuries.

Symptoms of an MCL injury:

  • Grade 1: Partial tear of the MCL. The symptoms are minimal, but athletes may feel pain when pressure is put on the MCL.
  • Grade 2: Incomplete tear of the MCL. Athletes may feel that their knee is unstable when they try to change direction or turn quickly. There is pain when pressure is put on the MCL.
  • Grade 3: Complete tear of the MCL. Patients are often unable to fully straighten their knee and there is substantial pain and swelling. The knee feels very unstable and may give out.

How are MCL tears treated?

Fortunately, MCL tears do not usually require surgery. Treatment usually includes rest, anti-inflammatory pain medications and sometimes a brace is necessary to keep the knee from moving from side to side.