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How are knee ligament injuries treated?

Dr. Scott D. Martin, MD
Orthopedic Surgeon

Knee ligament injuries are treated as follows:

Treating media collateral ligament (MCL) damage. Once your knee is wrapped in a bandage, ice and elevation will help reduce swelling. Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to help relieve pain and inflammation. A brace may help you totally rest the joint. Limit physical activity until the pain and swelling go away. Surgery is rarely needed unless the ACL is also injured. Physical therapy can gradually improve your range of motion and the strength and flexibility of your quadriceps and hamstrings. Depending on the severity of the injury, it may take as little as a week or more than two months before you can return to normal activities.

Treating anterior collateral ligament (ACL) damage. The first steps are the same as for MCL damage: use ice and compression, and elevate your knee whenever you sit or lie down. For pain relief, start with over-the-counter NSAIDs. Even when surgery is indicated, your surgeon will usually delay surgery for 4-6 weeks to give the knee a chance to calm down with return of motion and elimination of swelling.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.