The Role of Bracing in the Treatment of Medial and Lateral Collateral Ligament Injuries

Miss Charlotte Barker
MSK Associate
Published at: 31/12/2023

The Role of Bracing in the Treatment of Medial and Lateral Collateral Ligament Injuries

Introduction

Injuries to the medial and lateral collateral ligaments (MCL and LCL) of the knee are common, particularly in athletes and active individuals. Understanding the role of bracing in treating these injuries is vital for effective recovery and prevention of further damage.

What are MCL and LCL Injuries?

The MCL and LCL are ligaments located on the sides of your knee. The MCL is on the inside (medial side), while the LCL is on the outside (lateral side). These ligaments provide stability and limit the sideways motion of the knee. Injuries to these ligaments can occur due to direct blows, twisting injuries, or excessive force.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of MCL and LCL injuries include pain, swelling, and instability in the knee. In severe cases, you may feel a popping sensation or find it difficult to bear weight on the affected leg. Diagnosis typically involves a physical examination and imaging tests such as MRI or X-rays.

The Role of Bracing in Treatment

Bracing plays a pivotal role in the treatment of MCL and LCL injuries. Here’s how:

  1. Stabilisation: Braces help stabilize the knee by preventing lateral and medial movement, which is essential in the early stages of injury when the ligaments are healing.

  2. Pain Management: By limiting movement, braces also help in reducing pain and discomfort associated with ligament injuries.

  3. Support During Rehabilitation: As you engage in physiotherapy and exercises to strengthen the knee, braces provide the necessary support to prevent re-injury.

  4. Preventive Measure: Even after recovery, wearing a brace during high-risk activities can prevent future injuries, especially for athletes or individuals with a history of knee injuries.

Types of Braces for MCL and LCL Injuries

  1. Hinged Knee Braces: These are often used for MCL and LCL injuries as they allow for controlled motion while providing support.

  2. Rehabilitation Braces: These allow for adjustment in the range of motion, crucial during the different stages of healing.

  3. Prophylactic Braces: Used primarily in sports, these braces are designed to protect the knee from future injuries.

Conclusion

Bracing is an integral part of the treatment and management of medial and lateral collateral ligament injuries. It provides stability, support, and protection to the injured knee, facilitating a safe and effective recovery process. Always consult with a healthcare professional to choose the right brace and treatment plan for your specific needs.