The lateral collateral ligament (LCL) injury, is damage to the knee ligament that is located on the outside of the knee that links the thigh bone and the shin bone. The LCL is most commonly injured in sports by a direct impact to the inner surface of the knee joint, such as by a rugby or a football tackle.
The symptoms of a LCL injury include knee swelling, locking or catching of the knee, a sense that the knee is going to give way when stessed in any way and pain on the outside of the knee.
In the early stage of the injury the PRICE protocol should be followed – protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation above the level of the heart. If walking is impeded, crutches may be necessary. A knee brace can be helpful by taking the strain off the injured ligament if walking is possible but difficult.
Conservative treatment of a LCL injury includes soft tissue massge, electrotherapy and a full rehabilitation programme to encourage the return of a full range of motion, strength and balance.
In severe case, surgery may be indicated.