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Health Information For Parents
The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is one of the ligaments in the knee joint. A ligament is a tough, flexible band of tissue that holds bones and
The MCL is on the part of the knee closest to the other knee (the “medial” side). It connects the bottom of the thighbone (femur) to the top of the shinbone (tibia). The MCL helps keep the knee from moving side to side.
The MCL can tear if an injury stretches it too much. The tear might be partial (through a part of the MCL) or complete (all the way through the MCL).
Most people who tear their MCL feel pain and a “pop” in their knee when the injury happens. Their knee usually swells soon after the injury, most of the time around the inside part of the knee.
After the swelling goes down, they usually can walk, but feel pain when the inside of the knee is stretched, Also, the knee may feel unstable and can “give way” and make the person stumble or fall.
Most medial collateral ligament tears happen during athletic activity, such as when someone:
The MCL also can tear if the knee is hit forcefully from the side.
MCL tears happen most often during sports involving turning, cutting, and pivoting like skiing, soccer, football, basketball, and tennis.
To diagnose a torn MCL, health care providers ask about the injury and do an exam. During the exam, the health care provider presses on the knee and legs and moves them in certain ways. This can help show if the MCL is torn.
Imaging tests done can include:
Right after the injury, treatment may include:
Other treatments may include:
Kids with a torn MCL usually need to take time off from sports, especially the sport in which the injury happened. If there is no pain and the knee does not “give way,” they can usually walk, stretch, and do low-impact activities such as swimming.
Kids with a torn MCL should follow the doctor’s instructions on which activities they can do and which they should skip. Most kids with a low-grade MCL tear are back to sports within 6 weeks.
Having an MCL tear puts someone at higher risk for another one. To lower the risk of another MCL tear or other injury, kids can work with a physical therapist or trainer to:
Recovering from an MCL tear takes time. It’s normal for kids to feel angry, frustrated, or down, especially if they can’t play a sport they love. Help your child find ways to stay involved in sports, such as keeping score or being a team manager. Or, if your child wants to do something besides sports, help him or her try a new hobby like playing the guitar, painting, or drawing.
While the MCL tear heals, help your child follow the doctor’s instructions for:
Participation in sports can teach kids sportsmanship and discipline. But sports also carry the potential for injury. Here’s how to protect your kids.
Knee injuries are common among young athletes. Learn about causes, treatments, and prevention.
ACL injuries can happen in active and athletic kids when excessive pressure is put on the knee joint, resulting in a torn ligament.
The key to healing meniscus tears is not to get back into play too quickly. Find out what meniscus tears are and how to treat them.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome (or runner’s knee) is the most common overuse injury among runners, but it can also happen to other athletes who do activities that require a lot of knee bending.
Soccer is easy to learn at a young age, and it’s great exercise. But it’s also a contact sport, and injuries are bound to happen. To help prevent mishaps, follow these safety tips.
Jumper’s knee is an overuse injury that happens when frequent jumping, running, and changing direction damages the patellar tendon.
Without bones, muscles, and joints, we couldn’t stand, walk, run, or even sit. The musculoskeletal system supports our bodies, protects our organs from injury, and enables movement.
Get tips on everything from finding the best sport for your kids to preventing and handling injuries.
Bursitis, an irritation of the small fluid sacs that provide cushioning in some joints, is often caused by sports-related injuries or repeated use of a particular joint.
Healthy knees are needed for many activities and sports and getting hurt can mean some time sitting on the sidelines.
Playing hard doesn’t have to mean getting hurt. The best way to ensure a long and injury-free athletic career is to play it safe from the start. Find out how.
Sports injuries often can be prevented. Find out how in this article for kids.
Osgood-Schlatter disease (OSD) is an overuse injury that can cause knee pain in teens, especially during growth spurts. Learn more.
Doctors often recommend physical therapy for kids who have been injured or have movement problems from an illness, disease, or disability. Learn more about PT.
Osgood-Schlatter disease (OSD) is one of the most common causes of knee pain in adolescents. It’s really not a disease, but an overuse injury.
A knee X-ray can help find the causes of pain, tenderness, swelling, or deformity of the knee, and detect broken bones or a dislocated joint.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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