Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) Injury

Overview

This is a stretching or tearing of a ligament on the outer side of your knee. The lateral collateral ligament, commonly called the “LCL”, connects the femur to the fibula. The LCL helps stabilize your knee. This ligament, along with the medial collateral ligament, helps prevent excessive side-to-side movement of your knee joint. It helps keep the upper and lower leg aligned properly.

Causes

You can injure your LCL when your knee is pushed sideways toward the outer side of your body. A hard blow to the inner side of your knee is a common culprit. With a mild injury, your LCL may only stretch. Some of its fibers may tear. But if your injury is severe, your LCL may rupture completely.

Symptoms

An LCL injury causes pain and swelling of the outer side of your knee. Your knee may feel stiff. It may feel unstable and weak. It may lock or catch when you walk. Some people experience numbness or weakness in the foot after an LCL injury.

Treatment

Many LCL injuries can be treated with rest, ice and physical therapy. You may benefit from a knee brace. If these are not helpful, you may benefit from surgery to repair the damage. Your healthcare provider can develop a care plan that is right for your needs.



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