The ligament that runs on the inside of the knee is called the Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL). It runs from the medial epicondyle of the femur to the anteromedial tibia. It can be strained or ruptured (see grades of ligament strain).

Signs & Symptoms

  • Pain and tenderness on the inside of the knee

  • Instability

  • Swelling

  • Audible snap or tear at the time of injury

What Causes It?

  • Injury to the MCL typically involves a valgus strain to the knee in slightly flexed position.

  • Trauma whereby a force is applied to the outside of the knee, forcing the knee excessively inward

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.


  • 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 MCL is torn, then it can be accompanied by other structural damage such as a torn ACL, then surgery may be required to correct instability.

How Physio Helps

  • Assess your knee and test the MCL 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

  • Electrotherapy

  • Prescribe strengthening exercises to improve hip and knee stability

  • A hinged knee brace may be prescribed to be worn during the rehabilitation phase to prevent sideways instability movement of the knee.

  • Proprioceptive exercises to improve balance and prevent re-injury

  • Progressive rehabilitation exercises to allow successful return to sport

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Disclaimer: Information made available by AskPhysio (Sammy Margo Physiotherapy) is provided for guidance only and should not be considered as medical recommendations or advice.  AskPhysio is not responsible for errors or omissions in the information. Please consider what the best options for your healthcare are, based on the urgency of your condition and nature of your condition. Please consult a GP or Healthcare Specialist to discuss any specific concerns that exist prior to using the information provided.