LATERAL COLLATERAL LIGAMENT (LCL) INJURY
The lateral collateral ligament (LCL), also called the fibular collateral ligament (FCL) is one of the four major ligaments in the knee. The LCL runs from the end of the femur (thigh bone) down to the top of the fibula on the outside of the knee. Similar to the MCL, the LCL provides stability to the knee in the frontal plane.
- Pain and swelling on the outside of the knee
- Tenderness on outside of knee
- A sense of instability in the knee with side to side motion
Diagnosis And Treatment
Dr. Welch considers each patient’s symptoms, as well as a detailed physical examination, x-rays, and usually and MRI of the knee to make the diagnosis. Patients who sustain a low grade LCL injury (Grade I or II) in which the ligament is still functional can be treated with a course of ice and rest, as well as a specific physical therapy program. Dr. Welch also treats patients with a hinged knee brace to help limit stress on the ligament during its healing phase.
Most patients with Grade III LCL strains (complete tear) require surgery. Surgery involves reconstructing the ligament, usually with a hamstring allograft (donor soft tissue). The technique for LCL reconstruction has evolved over the years, and Dr. Welch typically employs a “fibular-based” technique. This technique has been validated in peer-reviewed journals and restores appropriate stability to an LCL-deficient knee.
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