Injuries of the MCL usually occur in contact sports such as football, rugby, martial arts, skiing and in daily life through twists and falls of the knee joint. A mild MCL strain should heal within 3 to 6 weeks; a complete rupture (grade 2 to 3) up to 12 weeks.
The inside of the knee is a complex of one large ligament, the MCL and and parts of the thickening joint capsular. Both function as the main valgus stabilizer of the knee, especially in 30 degrees of knee flexion
The MCL is injured when it is overstretched. This commonly occurs when an opponent or team mate falls across the outside of your knee when your foot is fixed on the ground. This causes the knee to bend inwards, overstretching and injuring the MCL. MCL tears are classified based on their severity- Grade I minor strain, Grade II moderate tear or Grade III complete tear.
Management of this condition involves immobilising the ligament, avoiding activities that stretch the ligament (changing direction quickly), the RICE regime acutely and a graduated strengthening and balance programme.Most MCL injuries can be managed conservatively without surgery (Phisitkul et al., 2006).
Phisitkul P. et al., 2006, MCL Injuries of the Knee: Current Concepts Review, The Iowa Orthopaedic Journal, 26, pp: 77-90