The most common knee ligament injury is an injury to the medial aspect of the knee. There are three main anatomic structures on the medial side of the knee, with the medial collateral ligament (MCL) being the largest and strongest. A large number of isolated MCL medial knee injuries are due to sporting events. They can be either a contact or non-contact stress to the outside of their knee, which in turn stretches or tears the medial knee structures on the inside of the knee.
The grade of the medial knee injury is based upon the amount of tearing present and treatment options depend on the location of the tear and if other ligaments are concurrently injured.
• Grade I: partial MCL tear
• Grade II: near complete MCL tear
• Grade III: a complete MCL tear – the ligament is non-functional
Surgeons at Peninsula Bone & Joint Clinic will perform a MCL reconstruction on patients who exhibit a grade III tear. In addition, it is well recognized having any “looseness” of the medial knee structures can cause an ACL graft to fail. Thus, when there is a combined medial knee injury and ACL injury, it is important to make sure the MCL injury heals completely prior to the ACL reconstruction or it should be concurrently repaired or reconstructed.
In the case of very severe combined knee ligament injuries, especially with a PCL tear, a concurrent medial knee injury should undergo a repair, augmentation repair, or a complete medial knee reconstruction (MCL reconstruction surgery).