What is an ACL or MCL Injury?

anatomy of the knee illustration

When you have a knee injury you will here ACL, MCL and less commonly LCL or PCL.  These are simply acronyms for the four ligaments that hold the knee joint together.  These ligaments are the:

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)
  • Medical Collateral Ligament (MCL)
  • Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL)
  • Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL)

An injury to one (or more) of the four ligaments of the knee can be classified as a grade 1-3.

Grade 1 – Is a sprain or strain of the ligament without laxity.

Grade 2 – Is a partial tear of the ligament with some widening of the joint or laxity

Grade 3 – Refers to a complete tear of the ligament

Each ligament performs a specific job in the knee and damage to each ligament results in a series of specific symptoms.  If your physician suspects damage to a ligament of the knee they will typically request an MRI.

How will Physiotherapy help?

You will need to see a physician after an injury to the ligaments of the knee.  Some injuries will recover on their own or with physiotherapy.  Other injuries will require surgical repair.  Physiotherapy will almost always be recommended after surgery.

Where physiotherapy is indicated  your Physio In Motion physiotherapist will assess your injury and limitations and develop a treatment plan with you.  As your injury heals your physiotherapist will let you know when it’s safe to make gradual increases to your activities levels.  They may also talk to you about a ligament brace to support your injured knee during recovery.  A brace may also prevent further injury to your damaged knee.