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  • The lateral collateral ligament (LCL) is one of the major knee ligaments providing stability to the knee

  • The primary function of the LCL is to prevent the leg bone from turning in (varus) relative to the thigh bone

  • The LCL is intimately associated with other knee structures, comprising the posterolateral corner (PLC) of the knee

  • LCL tears often occur in the setting of multiple ligament injury, rarely occur in isolation

  • Injury to the LCL and PLC can lead to knee instability 

  • 10% of knee ligament injuries involve the LCL and PLC


  • Mechanism is either a direct or indirect force directed on the inside of the knee (varus stress)

  • Contact LCL injuries are more common than noncontact, and are often in athletes


  • LCL tears are almost always associated with a pop followed by immediate pain in the outside (lateral side) of the knee

  • Knee bruising and mild swelling can be seen after LCL tears


  • In patients with isolated or low grade LCL tears, conservative management can be considered. Conservative management includes a short course of immobilization and bracing, followed by a course of physical therapy and rehab to strengthen the dynamic stabilizers of the knee joint

  • In patients with combined ligament or high grade LCL tears with instability, surgery can be considered. Treatment consists of LCL repair or reconstruction

LCL capture 1.png
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