The MCL (medial collateral ligament) is one of the four major restraints to the knee joint. Along with the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), and posterior lateral complex (PLC), it works to provide stability and strength to the knee joint. The MCL is the main ligament on the inside of the knee, also known as the medial side, and is a part of the “posteromedial corner” (PMC). This ligament can become injured with certain twisting injuries. Often, the MCL will heal on its own after injury; however, in certain instances the ligament is torn to the extent that an MCL reconstruction is necessary.
By examining a knee and obtaining X-rays where the ligament is stressed, it is possible to determine which injuries will heal without surgery and which will require surgery. Whether the MCL tear is partial or complete, Dr. Anz will be most concerned about the overall stability of the joint. During his initial evaluation, he will also determine if the MCL was injured along with the ACL, which is commonly the case. MCL reconstruction involves harvest of one of the hamstring tendons. This tendon is used to reconstruct the damaged MCL.
After surgery, patients will be required to undergo rehabilitation involving physical therapy in order to obtain an optimal result. Physical therapy begins immediately; however, knee range of motion is limited for 2 weeks. Initially, patients cannot place weight on their leg for 6 weeks, this amount of time is necessary for ligament healing. Strengthening begins at 7 weeks, and patients typically return to jogging at 4 months and sports at 5-6 months, depending on the severity of the initial injury.
For additional information on MCL knee injuries, or to learn more about MCL reconstruction surgery using arthroscopy, please contact the Gulf Breeze, Florida orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Adam Anz located at the Andrews Institute.