WHAT IS IT? LATERAL COLLATERAL LIGAMENT STRAIN

The ligament that runs on the outside of the knee is called the Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL).  It runs from the lateral epicondyle of the femur to the head of the fibula.  It can be strained or ruptured (see grades of ligament strain).

Signs & Symptoms

  • Pain and tenderness on the outside of the knee

  • Instability

  • Swelling

  • Audible snap or tear at the time of injury

What Causes It?

  • Injury to the LCL typically involves a varus strain with internal rotation of the knee.

  • This could involve the knee being hit from the inside and pushed outwards, with the leg twisted inwards at the same time.

How to Self Manage

  • R.I.C.E. protocol

  • Anti-inflammatory medication to reduce pain and swelling if not contraindicated.

  • Seeking assessment and management of your knee injury by a physio will help ensure a safer and quicker return to sport.

Prognosis

  • Return to sport depending on the severity will take between 4-12 weeks.

  • If severe, referral may be necessary for further investigation (xray, MRI, CT)

  • If the LCL is torn, then it can be accompanied by other structural damage such as a torn PCL, then surgery may be required to correct instability.

How Physio Helps

  • Assess your knee and test the LCL to see if there is any ligamentous laxity

  • Exclude other structures as your source of pain

  • Provide you with exercises to regain full movement of the knee

  • Soft tissue massage to reduce swelling

  • Deep transverse frictions to break up any adhesions

  • Prescribe strengthening exercises to improve hip and knee stability

  • Include proprioceptive exercises to improve balance and prevent re-injury

  • Progress rehabilitation exercises to allow successful return to sport

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