What are the symptoms of an MCL tear?


Quick Answer

According to Janelle Martel for Healthline, symptoms of a medial collateral ligament injury include pain and swelling in the knee joint, a feeling of instability when placing weight on the knee, a popping sound in the knee at the time of injury and a locking sensation when bending the knee joint. It is important to have these symptoms examined by a doctor to diagnose a knee injury properly.

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Full Answer

Martel explains that the symptoms of an MCL injury are similar to other possible knee injuries, but a doctor is able to determine the specific nature of the pain by performing a physical exam. A doctor may also order X-rays or a magnetic resonance imaging scan if a physical exam is inconclusive.

Depending on the severity of an MCL injury, treatment usually involves rest, compression, ice, elevation and the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, says Martel. It is common for MCL patients to require crutches for some time to minimize the frequency of weight-bearing activity on the affected knee. Physical therapy is recommended to patients to retrain and strengthen the muscles around the knee so that it has better support.

According to Martel, problems with knee stability are common signals that an MCL injury is quite advanced. In serious cases when an MCL injury cannot heal with the above treatments, surgery may be required, but this is rare.

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