LCL Tear Information

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LCL Tear Treatment

  • Rest -- Resting your injured knee will help you avoid doing further damage to your LCL.
  • Cold Compression -- Cold and compression work together to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Immobilization -- Keeping your knee immobile by using a splint or brace can prevent re-injury.
  • Painkillers -- Pain medications such as naproxen and ibuprofen temporarily relieve pain and swelling.
  • Blood Flow -- Promoting additional blood flow to your knee while you are at rest will aid in healing.
  • Physiotherapy -- When you are ready, exercises will help restore strength and range of motion to your knee.

There are many different treatment options for LCL injuries. If you have an injured LCL, you should start by resting and applying cold compression. Avoid any activities that could further strain your LCL. You may also want to use a brace to keep the knee immobile. Once your inflammation has gone down, you can focus on healing by promoting extra blood flow to your LCL. Physical therapy may also be recommended to help restore strength and range of motion of your knee.

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.

LCL Tear Treatment - Rest


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.

LCL Tear Treatment - Cold & Compression

Cold & Compression

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 inflammation.

LCL Tear Treatment - Immobilization


Immobilizing the knee for a certain period is required if you undergo surgery. Many people find using crutches and wearing a brace or splint effective in preventing movements that can lead to pain and further damage to the LCL. Your doctor will let you know when you can start bearing weight on the knee again.

LCL Tear Treatment - Painkillers


Taking over-the-counter pain medications such as Advil and Aleve can help to relieve your pain and inflammation. However, painkillers should be limited to times when you are at rest. Taking them when you are active is dangerous. Painkillers block the pain signal, making you unaware of any further damage you're doing to your knee until the effects wear off and you have more pain than before.

LCL Tear Treatment - Blood Flow

Blood Flow

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 help to repair your damaged LCL. While being physically active is one way to promote blood flow, this can lead to re-injury of your fragile tissue. When you're recovering from an LCL Tear, you want to rest and protect the area as much as possible. There are 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 Tear Treatment - Physiotherapy


Once you are far enough along in the healing process to not experience pain or re-injury to the knee during light exercise, you are ready to begin physiotherapy. This will help you restore strength and flexibility to the knee and usually involves a combination of stretching and strengthening exercises. Physiotherapists also use other treatments, such as taping, cold compression and blood flow stimulation.