LCL Tear Information

Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) Injuries

LCL Torn
Torn LCL Injury

What Is the LCL?

The LCL (or Lateral Collateral Ligament) is a flexible band of tissue that connects your thighbone to your shinbone. It's located on the outside of the knee joint and contributes to the stabilization of the knee. It also helps limit twisting and side to side motions of the knee.

LCL injuries usually occur along with other knee injuries, such as meniscus tears and dislocated knees, which is why it's important to visit your doctor if you think your LCL may be damaged.

Symptoms of an LCL Tear

Symptoms of an LCL Injury

The symptoms of an LCL injury depend on the severity of the damage. If you only have a mild sprain, you may not experience any symptoms at all. If you have a complete LCL tear, you may have difficulty walking. Symptoms include:

There are three grades of injury when it comes to diagnosing an LCL tear:

While the LCL is less likely to be injured than the MCL, the LCL is more difficult to heal.

Causes of an LCL Tear

Causes of LCL Injuries

Lateral Collateral Ligament injuries are most commonly caused by the knee joint being pushed outwards due to a direct hit to the inside of the knee. This type of force causes stress and strain on the LCL, as it is located on the outside of the knee. This is often seen in contact sports such as hockey and football. Another typical cause is sharp twisting movements, which are seen in sports such as downhill skiing, soccer and basketball. Alternatively, LCL injuries can be caused by repetitive motions that lead to degeneration of the tissue over time.

Treatment for an LCL Tear

Treatment for LCL Injuries

There are many different treatment options for LCL injuries. You should always try conservative treatment before considering surgery. However, if your LCL is completely ruptured, (meaning your tissue is in two pieces and no longer held together) you may need to undergo surgery in order to regain proper movement of your knee.

First of all, you should rest your injured knee. You don't want to do any further damage to your LCL. Some people go as far as using crutches to avoid re-injury. Stay off your knee for the first several days after injuring your LCL and don't do any vigorous physical activity. During this time, you should definitely avoid doing the activity that caused your LCL injury.

Next, you need to ice your LCL to bring down the swelling and inflammation. You can use a cold pack or a bag of peas or ice from the freezer. There are also safer, higher quality cold compression wraps available online that do a much better job. Just make sure you don't put anything frozen directly on your skin, as this can cause severe damage. Wrap the ice in a towel or wear a layer of clothing between the ice and your skin. When you're icing the LCL, you can also elevate your knee above your heart by resting your leg on a pillow. This will aid in further reducing the swelling.

Many people also find wearing a brace or splint effective in preventing movements that can lead to pain and further damage to the LCL.

Once your swelling and inflammation have subsided, you need to stimulate healthy blood flow to your LCL. This will help speed up your recovery and repair your damaged LCL. There are several different medical devices on the market that can do this for you. Improving blood flow is essential if you want to heal your LCL without resorting to surgery.

LCL Taping

Taping your LCL can help by providing your injured tissue with additional support and protection. It can also work to relieve swelling by applying compression to your LCL throughout the day. Using sports tape (also called kinesiology tape and athletic tape) has been shown to prevent re-injury and even improve movement. Wearing tape during exercise is especially important, as it helps keep your tissue in place and prevents futher damage.

There are a variety of resources for taping online, including instructions on how to apply tape. Please try different applications for your LCL injury in order to find the one that works best for you. Here's an example below:

LCL Taping

1. Position your knee to 90°.

2. Take a full length piece of tape (about 10 inches long) and cut it in half, rounding the corners, so you have two pieces that are each about 5 inches in length.

3. Take one of the 5 inch pieces of tape and tear the backing in the middle, peeling it away so you are holding onto the two anchor ends.

4. Using 100% stretch in the middle and no stretch at the ends, apply the tape horizontally over the point of pain on the outside of your knee.

5. Take the other 5 inch piece of tape and tear the backing in the middle, peeling it away so you are holding onto the two anchor ends.

6. Using 80% stretch in the middle and no stretch at the ends, apply the tape on an angle over the first piece to create an "X".

7. Take a full length piece of tape (10 inches) and tear the backing off one end, anchoring it right below the "X" with no stretch.

8. Apply the tape down over your point of pain with 80% stretch, bending it towards your thigh.

9. Lay down the end of the tape with no stretch, then rub the tape in to ensure it sticks to the skin.

LCL Tear Surgery

LCL Surgery

The goal of LCL surgery is to improve stability and restore proper motion. If you have a complete LCL tear, talk to your doctor about surgery options, as there are several different methods. The type of surgery required will depend on the severity of the tear, as well as the location. Most LCL tears can be repaired by stitching the tissue back together. However, some LCL injuries may require a graft, where tissue is taken from your quads or hamstrings to replace the torn LCL.

LCL Repair

LCL Repair is performed either through arthroscopy (where a tiny camera is inserted inside a small incision) or an open incision in the skin. If your tear is located somewhere in the middle of your LCL, the two ends will be sewn back together. If your tear has caused your LCL to detach from your thighbone or shinbone, it will need to be re-attached with strong sutures or staples.

LCL Reconstruction

LCL Reconstruction is a bit more serious than LCL Repair, as it requires a tendon graft (surgical transplant of living tissue). This can either be an autograft, which is when healthy tissue from your own body is used, or an allograft, which is when tissue from a tissue bank is used. This is an open procedure (done through an open incision and not with arthroscopic tools) where the tendon graft is attached to the bones with screws in order to replace the damaged LCL.

Recovery Steps for an LCL Tear

LCL Injury Recovery

A mild LCL injury or sprain will take about 4-6 weeks of conservative treatment to heal. Even then, you should continue to stimulate blood flow to ensure complete healing and to prevent re-injury.

Moderate LCL tears will take about 2 months to fully heal. At the 2 month mark you should be able to resume most of your regular activities.

Complete LCL tears will take 3+ months to heal, with the aid of surgery.

LCL Exercises

The below exercises are designed to maintain the strength and stability of the knee joint when the LCL is injured.

Quad Sets Exercise for an LCL Tear

Quad Sets

Sit on the floor with your injured leg stretched out straight in front of you, with your uninjured leg bent so your foot is flat on the floor. You may want to roll up a small towel and place it under your injured knee for support. Tense up the quad muscles in your injured leg (the muscles in the front of your thigh) by pushing your knee into the floor (your heel should lift slightly off the ground). Hold for 5-10 seconds, then relax your leg again. Do 10 reps 3 times a day.

Clamshell Exercise for an LCL Tear

Clamshell Exercise

Lie down on the floor, on your uninjured side. Bend your hips and your knees at 45 degrees, with your feet together. Still keeping your feet together, slowly raise the knee that's on top as far as you can. Hold for a second, then lower your knee back down. Do 10 reps 3 times a day.

Step-Up Exercise for an LCL Tear

Step-Up Exercise

You will need an exercise platform or something of a similar size (about 5 inches or 13 centimeters high) in order to complete this exercise. Take the platform and step up on it with the foot on your injured side, keeping your other foot flat on the floor. Transfer all of your weight to the injured leg and straighten it as your other foot lifts off the ground. Lower the foot on your uninjured side back down to the floor, so it's at the starting position. Do 10 reps 3 times a day.

Calf Raise Exercise for an LCL Tear

Calf Raises

Make sure you do the following exercise with something nearby you can hold onto to keep your balance. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and lift your heels off the floor, as high as they will go, so you are standing on the balls of your feet. Lower your heels back to the floor slowly. Do 15 reps twice a day.

Bridge Exercise for an LCL Tear

Bridge Exercise

Lie down on the floor, on your back. You may want to roll a towel and place it under your neck for support. Bend your knees so your feet are firmly planted on the floor. Keeping your knees bent and your feet in contact with the floor, raise your hips up towards the ceiling. Hold for a few seconds and lower your hips back down. Do 10 reps 3 times a day.

Lunge Exercise for an LCL Tear


Stand with your feet hip width apart. Keeping your back straight, step forward several feet with your right leg. Lift your left heel slightly off the ground, but make sure you keep your toes touching the floor. Bend both of your knees to a 90 degree angle. Hold for several seconds and rise. Go back to the starting position and repeat the lunge with your left leg. Do 10 reps 3 times a day.

Heel Slides Exercise for an LCL Tear

Heel Slides

Lie down on the floor with your legs stretched out straight in front of you. Take your injured leg and slide your heel towards your glutes (your knee will start to bend) until your knee is at a 90 degree angle. Hold for several seconds, then slowly return your leg to the start position. Do 15 reps twice a day.

Straight Leg Raise Exercise for an LCL Tear

Straight Leg Raise

Lie down on the floor with your legs stretched out straight in front of you. Bend your uninjured leg so your foot is lying flat on the floor. Keep your injured leg straight and tighten your thigh muscles. Raise your injured leg up off the floor about 8-10 inches. Hold for 5 seconds. Slowly lower your injured leg back to the floor. Do 10 reps twice a day.

Hip Extension Exercise for an LCL Tear

Hip Extension

Lie down on a flat surface on your stomach, with your legs stretched out behind you. Cross your arms under your head so you can rest your head on your arms. Tighten your buttock muscles. Keeping your knee straight, lift your injured leg off the floor about 8-10 inches and hold for 5 seconds. Lower your injured leg back down to the floor. Do 10 reps 3 times a day.

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About ACL injury

hi good day,

Hi my injury is torn ACL and I choose not to go surgery because I'm afraid and also it is too expensive my injury happened 5 years ago but after 1 year I can do all my activities without any pain but sometimes my knee feels hurt when the weather is so cold. Is these product can help my knee pain relieved

Re: About ACL injury

Thank you for your interest in King Brand.  Absolutely, the BFST can help injuries as old as 5 or 20 years.  BFST is promoting blood flow and optimal circulation to the affected area.  As long as you are also keeping inflammation down, keeping good, nutrient blood flow through the knee will help heal any damaged tissues.  One 20 minute treatment will promote the circulation for a good 3-4 hours after.  Recommended treatment in the beginning would be 3-5 times a day.

Because it is an older injury, it may not fix it completely but will give you a lot more relief on those cold days compared to now.

I hope this information helps and wish you all the best.

Re: About ACL injury

Hi Ms.Ashley

Thank you for your response I appreciate it. I'm very interested to purchase your product but as you said it was an old injury. Is there any instance that and torn ACL can be fix with these product without any operation?

Re: About ACL injury

There is no specific answer unfortunately.  It all depends on the severity of the tear, type and location of the tear.  There has been success stories where people have avoided surgery but it may not be the same in your case.  With many of our customers, if they know surgery is potentially in their future, they will try our products to see if they can avoid it.  If they still need it further down the road, our products are also a great aid in surgery recovery.

Take a look through our testimonials to see some of our customers reviews.