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How is a medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury treated?
Most MCL injuries can be treated at home with rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medicine. Your doctor may suggest that you use crutches and wear a brace that protects but allows for some movement of your knee.
You may need to reduce your activity for a few weeks. But doing gentle movement as advised by your doctor will help you heal.
A severe tear may need surgery. But this usually isn't done unless you also injure other parts of your knee, such as the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or meniscus.
Your treatment will depend on how severe your injury is.
Mild or grade 1 injuries.
These injuries usually get better in 1 to 3 weeks and may only need home treatment along with using crutches for a short time.
Moderate or grade 2 injuries.
These injuries usually get better in about a month. You may need to wear a hinged knee brace and limit how much weight you put on your leg.
Severe or grade 3 injuries.
These injuries may require wearing a hinged brace for a few months, and limiting weight on the leg for 4 to 6 weeks.
Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to increase range of motion and strengthen your quadriceps muscles and hamstrings.