The lateral collateral ligament, or LCL, is located on the outer side of the knee. It is a thick, strong band of tissue that connects the thighbone to the shinbone and helps keep the knee joint stable.
The most common cause of injury to the LCL is direct impact or a blow to the inner side of the knee that pushes the knee outward, often during sports activities. The ligament can be sprained, partially torn or completely torn.
If you have an LCL injury, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Swelling on the outer side of the knee
- Pain or tenderness on the outer side of the knee
- A feeling that the knee is locking, catching, buckling or giving way during movement
To diagnose the injury, one of Lancaster Orthopedic Group’s sports medicine specialists will thoroughly evaluate the knee and may recommend further tests, such as an X-ray, to rule out other damage to the knee, including fracture.
Treatment for a sprained or partial tear of the LCL includes rest, ice, anti-inflammatory and pain medication, and immobilization to promote healing. A complete LCL tear may require knee surgery followed by physical therapy.