All About LCL Injuries

soccer playersYour LCL (lateral collateral ligament) is one of four major ligaments in your knee. It is responsible for maintaining the stability of your joint and preventing excessive side-to-side movement of the knee. When you experience an LCL tear, your knee may bend too far inwards. This type of injury is most common in sports like soccer and basketball, which involve side-to-side movements like twisting, cutting, and pivoting. Symptoms of an LCL tear include pain and instability of the knee joint.

Grade I LCL Tear – A grade I tear is an incomplete tear of the LCL, resulting in minimal symptoms.  Pain and pressure are common complaints with this type of injury. Athletes will likely only miss one to two weeks of play to recover.

Grade II LCL Tear – A grade II LCL tear is an incomplete tear just like grade I, but more severe. People who have a grade II LCL tear will experience pain, swelling, and instability in their knee when attempting to pivot. This type of injury usually takes three to four weeks to heal.

Grade III LCL Tear – A grade II LCL tear is a complete tear. Significant pain and swelling occur, and patients may also have difficulties bending their knee. This injury also comes along with considerable instability in the joint. Grade III tears typically require surgery to repair. This level of damage often occurs in conjunction with cruciate ligament injuries.

Diagnosing an LCL Tear – An MRI can be used to diagnose an LCL tear and determine which grade the tear falls into. North Dover Radiology can use advanced imaging in Toms River, NJ, to find ligament injuries in the knee. Contact us today at 732-370-9902 to schedule an appointment with our radiologists or book online.