MCL Tears – Medial Co-lateral Ligament
The MCL is the main ligament supporting the inside of the knee. It is a long wide ligament starting from above the knee and continuing to 10cm below the knee joint line. It is what is known as an ‘extra-capular’ ligament, meaning that it is outside the joint capsule and therefore receives blood supply and has the ability to heal.
The only time that surgery is appropriate to reattach the ligament is if other structures in the knee have also been torn and the knee is unstable. Even full tears can heal well without surgery.
Substantial MCL tears will require some time in a brace to restrict the range of motion and give the ligament optimum conditions to heal.
MCL tears are graded as:
- partial tear with no laxity, healing time 2-3 weeks.
- partial tear with some laxity/weakness
- full tear
Grade II and III tears requires 4-12 weeks for full recovery depending on various factors. MCL ruptures can leave the knee stiff and weak, so a structured rehabilitation program is required to achieve full function.