Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) Reconstruction
The lateral collateral ligament (LCL) is a cord-like, fibrous band extending from the end of the femur (thigh bone) to the top of the fibula (thin bone on outside of lower leg) on the outside of the knee.
- Adds stability while standing with the leg is extended (knee straight)
- Limits rotation of the knee when the leg is flexed (knee bent)
An injury to the LCL may be isolated or a part of a complex injury with tears to the ACL and medial meniscus.
Signs and Symptoms
- Pain, swelling, weakness and often instability of the knee
- At the time of injury, you might hear a pop and your knee may give away
What causes an LCL tear?
- Can be injured by a blow to the inside of the knee
- -Common in contact sports (e.g. football, hockey, soccer, skiing)
Initially treated with symptomatic management:
- Ice, elevation, physical therapy, and sometimes bracing
- -To reduce swelling, restore motion, strength and flexibility
If a patient remains symptomatic, surgical reconstruction of the ligament can be considered. This depends on severity of the injury and activity level of the individual.
Surgical Treatment: Knee Arthroscopy (LCL Reconstruction)
- Arthroscopic repair has the benefit of faster recovery compared to open techniques
- Not all repairs can be performed arthroscopically
- -Open technique may be required
- Torn ligament is replaced with healthy strong tissue or graft
- -From your own hamstring or patellar tendon (autograft) or another source including cadaveric tissue (allograft)
- Physical Therapy is an integral component to your recovery from surgery
- -Appropriate timing and progression is key to the outcome
- For further details on your rehabilitation, please see the Physical Therapy section in Patient Resources.
- Protecting your knee and maintaining strength is important after formal physical therapy has ended.
- A brace may be required for high-risk activities of sport involving twisting and turning motions.