MCL and LCL Injuries

ACL Intact

Medial collateral ligament (MCL)and lateral collateral ligament complex (LCL) provide support to the outer knee and keep the tibia from moving inward or outward relative to the femur.

Medial and Lateral Knee Ligament Sprains

Classification of collateral ligament sprains:

  • Grade I:Low grade injury with stretching or microtearing of the ligament fibers.
  • Grade II:Intermediate grade injury with macroscopic partial tearing and stretching of ligament fibers. Some intact fibers maintain function.
  • Grade III:Completely torn/ruptured ligament with lost function.


A. Grade I or Grade II sprain:

  • R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) in the acute phase of injury.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to help with pain.
  • Knee brace to allow healing.

B. Grade III Sprain

  • R.I.C.E.
  • NSAIDs
  • Physical therapy exercises
  • Even grade III MCL tears may heal. In certain circumstances, your surgeon may recommend surgical repair to restore function.

Healing of collateral ligament sprains typically takes from four to six weeks, depending on the severity of injury.