LCL Injury

The lateral collateral ligament (LCL) is the ligament located in the knee joint. Ligaments are thick, strong bands of tissue that connect bone to bone. The LCL runs along the outside of the knee joint, from the outside of the bottom of the thighbone to the top of the lower-leg bone. The LCL helps keep the knee joint stable, especially the outer aspect of the joint.

 

An injury to the LCL could include straining, spraining, and partially or completely tearing any part of that ligament. The main cause of LCL injuries is direct-force trauma to the inside of the knee. This puts pressure on the outside of the knee and causes the LCL to stretch or tear.

Symptoms

 

  • Swelling of the knee (especially the outer aspect)
  • Stiffness of the knee joint that can cause locking of the knee
  • Pain or soreness on the outside of the knee
  • Instability of the knee joint (feeling like it’s going to give out)

 

Diagnosis

 

  • To diagnose an LCL injury, your doctor will examine your knee and look for swelling. They’ll also move your knee in various directions to determine where your pain is and how severe your symptoms are.
  • If your doctor believes you may have a torn ligament, you may undergo imaging tests like X-rays or MRI scans. These tests will allow your doctor to see the soft tissues inside the knee.

 

Prevention

 

Its difficult to prevent knee ligament injuries because they’re often a result of an accident or unforeseen circumstance. However, several preventive measures can help minimize the risk of a knee ligament injury, including:

 

  • Using proper technique and alignment when doing physical activities, including walking
  • Stretching regularly to maintain good range of motion in the body
  • Strengthening the muscles of the upper and lower legs to help stabilize the joint
  • Using caution when playing sports where knee injuries are common, such as soccer and football