A Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) is one of the four knee ligaments. The purpose of the LCL is to help keep the knee stable, especially on the outside of the knee. An LCL injury can be caused by a varus stress, lateral rotation of the knee when weight-bearing, then the LCL loses its elasticity from repeated stress, or direct force. This knee injury is less common than a medial collateral ligament (MCL) and can often lead to surgery.
The causes of an LCL injury are usually when the knee pushes out beyond the range of motion. As a result, the ligament is overstretched and torn. Common causes of this injury are poor landing technique, a sudden change in direction when running, direct force such as a collision or a tackle, and twisting the knee when the foot is stationary.
If you have an LCL injury, you may experience the following signs and symptoms in your knee:
- Mild to severe pain on the outer side of the knee
- A Snapping or tearing sound when the injury occurred
- Bruising of the skin around the knee
- General weakness in the knee joint
- Numbness in the knee
- Swelling and inflammation
- A locking sensation when the knee is moved
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections and stem cell injections are great non-invasive treatment options for an LCL injury.