Sunday, May 13, 2012

Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Tears

The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is a wide, thick band of tissue that runs down the inner part of the knee from the thighbone to a point on the shinbone about four to six inches from the knee. The MCL prevents the leg from extending too far inward, helps keep the knee stable, and allows the knee to rotate.

Injuries to the MCL can happen when the knee is hit directly from its outer side, causing the ligaments on the inside of the knee to stretch too far or to tear. It is not uncommon to tear the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) at the same time. The MCL can also be injured through repeated stress, which can cause the ligament to lose its normal stretch and elasticity.

Symptoms of an MCL tear can include:
  • Pain, the severity of which depends on the severity of the tear 
  • Stiffness 
  • Swelling 
  • Tenderness along the inside of the knee 
  • Instability, or a feeling that your knee may give out 
  • Locking or catching 
Depending on the degree of pain or looseness of the knee joint, the MCL tear will be classified as:

Grade I: Some tenderness and minor pain at the injury site.
Grade II: Noticeable looseness of the knee with manual movement, major pain and tenderness at the inside of the knee, and swelling.
Grade III: Significant pain and tenderness at the inside of the knee, swelling, marked joint instability with manual movement. A grade III MCL tear is often accompanied by an ACL tear.

Tears of the MCL usually respond well to non-surgical treatment, including rest, bracing, over-the-counter pain relievers, and physical therapy. If surgery is required, it is usually done through a small incision on the inside of the knee. If the MCL has become torn where it attaches to the thighbone or shinbone, the surgeon will re-attach the ligament to the bone using large stitches or a metal screw or bone staple. If the tear is in the middle of the ligament, the surgeon will sew the torn ends together.

If you’ve sustained an MCL tear as a result of a work-related injury, you may be eligible for Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits, including medical expense benefits, wage loss benefits, permanent partial disability benefits, and /or rehabilitation benefits. For a free, no-obligation case consultation, call Meuser & Associate at 877-746-5680, or click here to send us an email.


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