Lateral Collateral Ligament Injury

November 12, 2012

Lateral Collateral Ligament Injury

Lateral collateral ligament extends from the top part of the fibula, which is a bone on the outer side of the lower leg, to the outer part of the lower thigh bone. It stabilizes the outer part of the knee joint.

LCL Injury

Lateral collateral ligament injury refers to stretch, or partial or complete tear of the ligament on the outer side of the knee. The injury pushes the knee joint from the inside. This causes stress on the outer part of the joint.


LCL injury is a serious knee injury, which can affect the ligaments of the knee as well as the nerves and blood vessels surrounding it. Symptoms of lateral collateral ligament injury include:

  • Swelling in the knee

  • A block in the movement of the knee

  • Patients may experience pain or tenderness in the outer side of the knee

  • They may also experience a feeling of losing their knee, especially when you move or stress it at a certain angle.


You may test lateral collateral ligament injury by bending the knee at a 25 degrees angle and placing pressure on the inner surface of the knee. LCL injury may be indicated by loose ligaments in the knee.

If you suspect the injury, consult a doctor right away. Your doctor may perform a through physical examination and order knee joint x-rays and knee MRI to conform the diagnosis. Your doctor may check to see the number of ligaments involved in the injury.


You can treat lateral collateral ligament pain by applying ice on the site of the injury. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may help relieve the pain. Raising the knee above heart level may also provide relief from pain and discomfort.

You should limit physical activity and avoid putting weight on the knee until the pain and swelling go away. Your doctor may also recommend the use of crutches and braces to protect the ligament. Mild exercises under the supervision of a physical therapist may help restore the movement of the knee joint.

Surgery is rarely required to maintain the stability of the knee in future.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

You should talk to your doctor if your symptoms worsen, in spite of starting the treatment, or if your symptoms return after the initial recovery. You should also seek medical attention if you re-injure your knee. However, proper techniques while exercising and playing sports can help prevent lateral collateral ligament injuries.


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