Grade I Sprain of the Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL)


Your diagnosis is Grade I sprain of the medial collateral ligament (MCL).

Injury or Condition

Your injury represents a minor disruption (less than 50%) of the collagen fibers linking the ends of the femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (shin bone).


The most common cause is excessive stress applied to the stabilizing ligament on the inner (medial) aspect of the knee during sports or as the result of a fall.


Typical symptoms are pain and tenderness on the medial (inner) aspect of the knee with stiffness and guarding. Minor swelling and tenderness can be noted.


Standard treatment includes:

  1. Prompt return to weight-bearing
  2. Activities to encourage full motion
  3. Ice
  4. Safe strengthening activities, such as biking, that avoid cutting and twisting
  5. Optional anti-inflammatory medication for one week (e.g. Diclofenac/Voltaren or Ibuprofen/Advil)
  6. Bracing with a hinged brace to support the MCL


Important precautions:

  1. Avoid prolonged immobility.
  2. Do not return to sports until motion is normal and at least 90% of normal strength is recovered.


Expected recovery usually occurs in 1-4 weeks depending on the severity of the injury.


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