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Updated: Jan 5 2018

Collateral Ligament Tear

  • Snapshot
    • A 22-year-old man presents to student health with severe knee pain. He was in soccer practice where an opposing team member struck his right leg laterally. He has developed pain since the event. On physical exam, anterior and posterior drawer test are negative. He has increased laxity with valgus stress and no laxity with varus stress to the knee.
  • Introduction
    • Collateral ligaments of the knee include the
      • lateral collateral ligament (LCL)
      • medial collateral ligament (MCL)
    • Function
      • both the lateral and medial collateral ligament are involved in stabilizing the knee
        • LCL
          • resists varus force on the knee
        • MCL
          • resists valgus force on the knee
  • Epidemiology
    • Incidence
      • MCL is most commonly injured knee ligament
    • Pathogenesis
      • LCL
        • excessive varus force tears the LCL
      • MCL
        • excessive valgus force tears the MCL
  • Presentation
    • Symptoms
      • knee pain
    • Physical exam
      • increased laxity with valgus stress suggests an MCL injury
      • increased laxity with varus stress suggests an LCL injury
  • Imaging
    • Radiography
      • indication
        • initial imaging modality used to determine if a fracture is present
  • Studies
    • Making the diagnosis
      • a clinical diagnosis supported by imaging
  • Differential
    • Anterior cruciate ligament tear
      • differentiating factor
        • positive anterior drawer test
    • Posterior cruciate ligament tear
      • differentiating factor
        • positive posterior drawer test
  • Treatment
    • Conservative
      • physical therapy
        • indication
          • initial treatment for collateral ligament tears that are not severe
    • Operative
      • orthopedic surgery
        • indication
          • for severe collateral ligament tears
  • Complications
1 of 0
1 of 4
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