MCL Knee Tear in Sports

Larissa Roux, MD FRCP Dip Sport Med, MPH, PhD, discusses MCL tears in hockey.

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Larissa Roux, MD FRCP Dip Sport Med, MPH, PhD, discusses MCL tears in hockey.
Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Larissa Roux, MD, MPH, PhD, CCFP, Dip Sport Med

Duration: 2 minutes, 18 seconds

MCL stands for media collateral ligament, and this is a ligament that spans the inside aspect of the knee joint and it stabilizes the knee from side-to-side translation.

The MCL is one of the most commonly injured ligaments in hockey, and actually in most sports. Particularly in sports that require a valgas loading of the knee, that is a loading of the knee from the outer aspect of the knee, so a direct blow to the lateral aspect - the outer thigh or the leg - can result in a tear of the medial collateral ligament.

An athlete who suffers an MCL tear will typically present with pain on the medial aspect of the knee, associated swelling, they may have difficulty weight bearing and they may even feel a sensation of popping in the knee.

Oftentimes, the timing and onset of swelling as well as the abilty to weight bear immediately after the event are particuarly important in understanding the extent of the injury.

It is really important that someone who faces this injury be seen by their primary care physician or preferably by a primary care sport medicine physician, not only to treat the problem at hand but also to make sure that there are no associated injuries such as injuries to the meniscus or the anterior cruciate ligament.

The MCL is a very vascularized structure and actually heals very well, so conservative treatment is the treatment of choice. This includes a visit to your primary care sport medicine physician as well as to your physiotherapist.

Early range of motion exercises in a protective fashion using a brace – a hinged brace - will lead to the best outcomes long term, and it has been noted that braces can be used for prevention as well in this condition.

Range of motion exercises as well as strengthening will allow the athlete to return to play. If you have any further questions regarding MCL tears please consult your local family physician or primary care sports medicine physician.

Presenter: Dr. Larissa Roux, Sports Medicine Physician, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Sports Medicine Physician

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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