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Health Information For Teens
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, a person usually can walk, but feels 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, the initial treatment may include:
Other treatments may include:
Teens 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.
Teens with a torn MCL should follow their health care provider’s instruction on which activities they can do and which they should skip. Most teens 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, work with a physical therapist or trainer to:
Recovering from an MCL tear takes time. It’s normal to feel angry, frustrated, or down, especially if you can’t play a sport you love. To stay involved in sports during recovery, you can be part of the team by keeping score or being a manager.
Maybe you can try something other than sports, like playing a musical instrument, painting, or drawing.
While the MCL tear heals, follow your health care provider’s instructions for:
Healthy knees are needed for many activities and sports and getting hurt can mean some time sitting on the sidelines.
ACL injuries can happen in active and athletic kids when excessive pressure is put on the knee joint, resulting in a torn ligament.
Jumper’s knee is an overuse injury that happens when frequent jumping, running, and changing direction damages the patellar tendon.
It’s fun to play and great exercise, but basketball is also a contact sport, and injuries happen. To stay safe on the basketball court, follow these safety tips.
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.
A good, stable connection at your hip joint is what lets you walk, run, make that jump shot, and shake it on the dance floor. But in some teens â particularly those who are obese â the hip joint is weakened by slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE).
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.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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