What can I do to treat my collateral ligament tear?
In some cases, an injury to the knee or a collateral ligament tear can heal in a matter of weeks. If patients care for a collateral ligament tear the right way, they will soon be able to walk and return to sports. Patients can treat a collateral ligament tear with:
- Rest for the knee right after injury.
- An ice pack that will reduce knee swelling.
- A knee brace that will keep the ligament from further tearing.
- Gradual physical therapy to help regain strength and functioning.
There are some knee injuries and collateral ligament tears that cannot be fully treated from home. For example, even though the LCL is less likely to tear, if this ligament is injured it will need treatment from an orthopedic physician. If you are feeling chronic knee pain and feel like you may be suffering with a collateral ligament tear, contact an orthopedic doctor or sports medicine specialist.
What if I need further treatment for my collateral ligament tear?
Athletes who suffer from a collateral ligament tear will most likely wish to return to their sport. An orthopedic physician or sports medicine specialists is the best person to help with this. Further treatment for a collateral ligament tear, both MCL and LCL, include:
- Weight-baring bracing
- Physical therapy/rehabilitation
- Reconstruction surgery
With collateral ligament tears, nonsurgical treatment will work for most patients. In extreme cases, if the lateral collateral ligament or medial collateral ligament completely tear, reconstruction surgery will be necessary. An orthopedic surgeon will repair and reconstruct the collateral ligament tear with surgical intervention.
How do I recover after a collateral ligament tear?
Luckily, majority of patients make a full recovery after collateral ligament tears. Partial tears that do not require surgery can heal after weeks of resting and physical therapy. Once the knee regains strength, patients can return to their normal physical activity. For those with severe collateral ligament tears, surgical recovery takes longer. Recovery from collateral ligament reconstruction is usually several months. Your orthopedic surgeon may also recommend rehabilitation after surgery.