The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is one of the four major ligaments of the knee. It is a broad, flat, membranous band, situated slightly posterior (back) on the medial (inner) side of the knee joint. It resists forces that would push the knee medially, which would otherwise produce valgus deformity, commonly referred to as "knock-knee." MCL tears often occur from soccer, skiing, or football and involve the joint being bent to the side, tearing the ligament that exists just inside the soft tissue of the knee. The MCL usually tears partially and is often graded as a Grade 1, 2 or 3 type of tear. Fortunately, the MCL has a very good blood supply. By protecting and rehabilitating it early with gentle range-of-motion exercises, soft tissue massage, and specific strengthening exercises, the tissue can be induced to heal in a relatively normal pattern with collagen fibers aligned along the normal pathway of the original MCL. Surgical repair of the MCL, in our opinion, is infrequently needed because the MCL will often heal. Occasionally, MCL injuries lead to chronic instability and in those cases we rebuild the MCL typically using an allograft or donor tissue to augment the suture repair of the ligament itself.
Calm, happy patients make calmer, happier surgeons. It adds up to better outcomes. Though it’s hard to prove, the more the patient helps the surgeon relax, the better the surgeon perceives the patient and the job ahead. I know, having been both the surgeon and the patient.
When tissues are injured, a cascade of events occurs. These include inflammation and the release of chemical signals to recruit new cells. Some of these cells remove damaged tissue, while others form collagen: the fibrous material that makes up skin, bones, muscles, and all connective tissue.