Home > Blog > Physiotherapy > Knee Pain > Knee Lateral Collateral Ligament Sprain Physiotherapy
Lateral collateral ligament (LCL) sprains (also less commonly known as fibular collateral ligament) happens when the ligament on the outer side of the knee is overstretched.
Collateral ligament knee injuries make up about 25% of severe knee injuries in the United States.
Most of the time, these knee injuries happen in adults aged 20-34 years and 55-65 years. LCL sprains mainly happen during sporting activities, including contact and noncontact sports, and affect women and men equally.
Our senior physical therapist treats LCL sprains to
Our lateral collateral ligament is a thick, strong band of tissue that connects our thigh bone (femur bone) to the shinbone (fibula bone).
It is located on the outer side of the knee and it helps to keep our knee joint stable, and is one of several collateral ligaments that support the knee (refer to original knee picture above).
The LCL can be injured
which causes stress on the outer side of the knee. The LCL may be
With an injured LCL, you may feel:
The pain of an LCL injury may cause you to limp.
If you see our senior physiotherapist first, we will conduct a thorough evaluation that includes taking your health history.
We will also ask you detailed questions about your injury, such as:
We also will perform special tests to help determine the likelihood that you have an LCL sprain.
We will gently press on the outer side of your knee to see if it is painful to the touch, and push on the inner side of the knee to see if that causes pain on the outer side. We may use additional tests to determine if other parts of your knee are injured, and will also observe how you are walking.
To provide a definitive diagnosis, we may collaborate with an orthopedic physician or other health care provider. They may order further tests, such as an x-ray to confirm the diagnosis and to rule out other damage to the knee, including fracture.
We will work with you to design a specific treatment program that will speed your knee pain recovery, including exercises you can do at home.
The number 1 goal of knee physical therapy is to help you return to your normal lifestyle and activities. The time it takes to heal the knee lateral collateral ligament varies, but improvement is generally noted in 4 to 8 weeks.
During the first 24 to 48 hours following your injury, we may advise you to:
Our senior physiotherapists will work with you over time to:
Reduce Pain and Swelling
We may use different types of treatments and technologies to control and reduce your pain and swelling, including
Improve Range Of Motion
We will choose specific activities and treatments to help restore normal movement in the knee and leg. These might begin with "passive" motions that we do with and for you to gently move your leg and knee joint, and progress to active exercises and stretches that you do yourself.
We will determine if any of your leg muscles are tight, and teach you how to stretch them.
Certain exercises will aid healing at each stage of recovery. We will choose the exercises and equipment that are right for your specific condition to steadily restore your strength and agility.
These may include
Improve Balance and Agility
Regaining your sense of balance is important after an injury. For athletes, restoring agility is important, also. We will teach you exercises to improve your balance and agility skills.
Speed Recovery Time
We are trained and experienced in choosing the best treatments and exercises to help you heal, return to your normal lifestyle, and reach your goals faster than you are likely to do on your own.
Return to Activities
We will discuss your goals with you and use them to set your work, sport, and home-life recovery goals. Your physiotherapy treatment program will help you reach those goals in the safest, fastest, and most effective way possible.
We will teach you exercises, work retraining activities, and sport-specific techniques and drills to help you achieve your goals.
If Surgery Is Necessary
Surgery is really very rare in cases of knee lateral collateral ligament sprains and injury.
That being said, if other parts of the knee are injured at the same time as the LCL, you may need additional treatment for those injuries that might include surgery.
And if corrective knee surgery is needed, you will follow a knee physiotherapy recovery program over several weeks guided by our senior physiotherapist, who will help you