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Collateral ligaments are located on either side of the knee and joined to the thigh and the leg. There are two strong collateral ligaments – Medial collateral ligament (MCL) and lateral collateral ligament (LCL). They help prevent excessive movement of the knee.

Injuries to MCL are more common and likely to occur by any of the following ways:

  • Falling off with a bent knee in a knock-kneed position so that the knee is pushed inwardly and lower leg outwardly.
  • Being stuck on the outside of the knee as in tackle Injuries to LCL are less common and more complicated.

LCL injuries may occur when:

  • Inside of the knee is hurt forcing it to move outwards in a bow-legged position.
  • A direct blow to the front of the knee.


You may experience:

  • Pain in the inside or the outside of the knee
  • Localised swelling around the ligament
  • Painful while bending the knee
  • Instability in the knee during movement


  • Treatment for minor injuries may include ice compression splinting, pain medication, limiting physical activity, using knee immobiliser (or brace), physiotherapy or rehabilitation
  • For severe injuries, you may need physiotherapy, rehabilitation or surgery. Surgery includes ligament reconstruction or repair.

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