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I Twisted My Knee and Now it Hurts on the Inside

By: Dr. Zackary Byrd

A twisting injury to the knee can be a painful experience! If you watch football, the linemen tend to wear braces on their knees to prevent injuries. Particularly, to prevent injuries to a part of the knee called the “medial collateral ligament,” or the “MCL.” The MCL is a large ligament that connects the thigh bone (femur) to the leg bone (tibia). It runs along the side of your knee closest to the opposite leg. A MCL sprain is a common injury for athletes in sports that involve cutting and changing direction.

What is a MCL sprain?

This ligament is very important in keeping your knee stable and stops it from bending in sideways. You can injure your MCL by twisting your knee, or if you’re struck on the outside and it bends inward. This kind of injury is technically a “mcl sprain” which is like saying it’s a “torn ligament.” Not all torn ligaments are the same because tears can be partial or complete. It will likely lead to pain along the inside of your knee and swelling. In serious cases or complete tears your knee may even become unstable because of an MCL sprain.

In the office, orthopedic surgeons evaluate patients to diagnose injuries like these. You may be asked to get an X-ray of your knee as part of the visit. X-rays are very good at seeing your bones but not as good at seeing soft-tissue structures like ligaments. If you have an MCL injury your X-rays may look normal, but your physical exam may tell another story. Orthopedic surgeons can check your knee ligaments and figure out what is wrong in most cases. If a ligament injury is suspected, you might need an MRI to help see the extent of the sprain. MRI scans are better at seeing soft-tissue structures like ligaments that X-rays can’t see directly.

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MCL Sprain Treatment

Treatment of MCL sprains depends on what part of your ligament is torn, and how bad the tear is. Partial tears imply that there is some degree of intact ligament left. These may heal without surgery given the proper support and rehab. If your MCL is torn completely or leads to instability of your knee you may need surgery.

If you think you may have sprained your MCL and it’s “putting a hitch in your giddy-up,” give JIS Orthopedics a call or schedule an appointment online. We would love to help you Live Without Limits!

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