MCL Tear and Sprain Treatment in Kirkland, WA

As a fellowship-trained board-certified orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Camille Clinton delivers state-of-the-art treatment to patients experiencing MCL knee injuries. Dr. Clinton is dedicated to providing patient-centered care and takes the time to discuss all treatment options in an effort to preserve and improve patient lifestyles. Call to schedule an appointment at her orthopedic surgery office in Kirkland, WA today!


MCL Injuries & Surgery

What is the MCL? MCL-Tear

The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is located on the inside of the knee. It is a strong flat band of fibrous tissue that extends from the medial epicondyle of the femur (thigh bone) to the medial plateau of the tibia (shin bone). The MCL prevents the inside of the knee from opening up or buckling during movement.

What are the causes and symptoms of MCL injuries?

The MCL is typically injured from a blow to the outside of the knee. An MCL tear can occur as an isolated injury or it can be associated with other knee injuries, in particular tears of the ACL and medial meniscus.

The most common symptom following an MCL injury is pain directly over the ligament on the inside (medial side) of the knee. There is often also an initial limitation to motion. Symptoms of a medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury tend to correlate with the extent of the injury.

Common symptoms can also include:

  • Hearing a popping upon getting the injury.
  • Pain near the inside area of the knee
  • Swelling of the knee joint
  • Not able to put weight on the knee when applying pressure to the area

What are the different types of MCL injuries?

The severity of the injury is graded from I (minor) to III (complete tear). In order to help you determine which type of MCL injury you have, here is a description of each degree of MCL sprains:

  • Grade 1 MCL Injury- refers to a strained, but not torn, ligament. It is the least severe injury out of all three grades.
  • Grade 2 MCL Injury- a ligament which is slightly torn, causing some instability and discomfort in the knee.
  • Grade 3 MCL Injury– the most severe, this is a ligament that has completely torn.

How are MCL tears treated?

Most MCL tears heal on their own, without the need for surgery. In higher-grade injuries, a brace is often prescribed to protect the ligament while it heals. Grade I and grade II injuries are usually resolved within 4-6 weeks, though full recovery may take longer. During this time, it is important to regain and maintain knee motion, while also working on strengthening the surrounding muscle groups.

Grade III injuries are more severe injuries that are often associated with tears of other ligaments in the knee. Surgical repair of the MCL may be needed for some grade III injuries, and occasionally for chronic MCL injuries that have not healed appropriately.

  • Immediate treatment- Applying treatment immediately to the affected area is crucial to a quicker recovery time for all three degrees of MCL sprains. Some methods of immediate treatment include applying ice to the injured area to reduce the swelling, elevating your knee above your heart to reduce swelling, and using crutches to keep the weight off your knee.
  • Rehabilitation- As you recover from the MCL sprain, the goal is to gradually regain the strength in the affected knee in order to prevent the injury from recurring. Dr. Clinton may recommend physical therapy, wearing a protective knee brace, and limiting involvement in contact sports.
  • Surgery – Although surgery is rarely recommended for an MCL sprain, it is sometimes necessary when the ligament is torn beyond the point of self-repair or when the MCL sprain has caused the injury of other ligaments.

What Kind of Results Can You Expect Post-Treatment

Regardless of whether or not your condition was serious enough to require surgery, the outlook is positive. Most people with this condition can expect to fully heal in a matter of weeks, assuming that they maintain a recommended treatment regimen.

Schedule a MCL Treatment Consultation

Dr. Camille Clinton is a fellowship-trained board-certified orthopedic surgeon that specializes in treating patients throughout the Kirkland, Eastside Seattle, and Redmond area for MCL knee injuries. She will take the time to discuss your treatment options and help you decide what is best for you. Call (425) 899-4810 to schedule an appointment with highly trained knee specialist, Dr. Clinton.

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