Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Injury

Medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury is common, especially among athletes. The Medial collateral ligament (MCL) is a strong, fibrous band that connects the femur to the tibia. It is one of the four major ligaments that help support the knee joint. It helps stabilize the knee joint by preventing excessive knee joint movement. The MCL is also responsible for preventing hyperextension of the knee joint and limiting internal rotation. 

Cause for MCL Injury 

The MCL usually suffers an isolated tear when a sudden force is applied to one side of the knee or when it is twisted while bent inwards. In some cases, the MCL and ACL tear together; this is called an “unhappy triad” injury. 

Symptoms of MCL Injury 

Symptoms of an MCL tear include: 

  • Pain when twisting your knee or bending it inward 
  • Sudden swelling on one side of your knee 
  • A popping sensation in your knee during activity 
  • Pain when you put weight on your foot after twisting or bending it inward 
  • Tenderness when pressing on the inside of the knee 
  • Limited range of motion due to pain 
  • Difficulty straightening the knee while keeping it in line with your other leg (called a “negative test”) 

Diagnosis of MCL Injury 

A chronic MCL injury can also be diagnosed based on symptoms alone; however, additional tests such as X-ray and MRI may be required to determine whether surgery is necessary or if conservative treatment with rehabilitation exercises will suffice. Patients diagnosed with chronic MCL tears should always seek medical attention before engaging in any strenuous exercise activities so that proper precautions can be taken against further damage from occurring during physical activity! 

Treatments Available for MCL Injury 

Non-surgical treatment options include: 

  • Resting from activity until pain resolves, then gradually increasing activity level over time while paying attention to symptoms 
  • Physical therapy exercises that strengthen muscles surrounding the injured area 
  • Occupational therapy treatments focused on improving functional mobility 

Surgical Treatment Options Include: 

Several surgical options are available to treat a medial collateral ligament injury. These include: 

Arthroscopic Repair This procedure uses an arthroscope inserted into the knee joint during surgery to inspect and repair small tears in the MCL 

MCL Open Repair: In this procedure, an incision is made to gain access to the injured ligament so that it may be repaired or replaced with a graft from another part of your body (usually from your hamstring tendon). 

MCL Reconstruction: In this procedure, both ends of your damaged MCL are removed and replaced with new tissue from another part of your body (usually from your hamstring tendon). 

Knee surgeons at Burjeel Hospital Dubai provide patients with the most advanced treatment options for knee conditions. The hospital’s team of world-renowned knee surgeons have decades of experience and specialize in treating a wide array of conditions affecting the knees. 


Our Expert Orthopedic Knee Surgeons


Dr. Nader Darwich

Consultant Knee Surgeon

Burjeel Hospital, Dubai

Dr. Professor Erik Hohmann

Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon Sports Physician

Burjeel Hospital, Dubai

Dr. Matthias Honl

Burjeel Hospital, Dubai

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