YOUR LCL SPRAIN GUIDE

High%20Res%20Logo%20_square_edited.png

Physiobot is just getting started. Please help us grow by sharing!

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram

Additional information regarding Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) sprains is available here.

NOTE

If you feel this is potentially a cruciate ligament injury, we highly recommend consulting with a clinician. To find a doctor or PT who accepts your insurance, our Physiobot Care Access Specialist is now available. Telehealth options provided as well.

 

YOUR GOAL
If you decide to forego the medical care route at this time, here is our main objective for LCL sprain recovery: Reducing strain on the ligament. This will allow inflammation to settle down and the healing process to begin.

REST
With that in mind, minimize activities that exacerbate your pain. Basically, if it hurts - back off. That doesn't mean to stop moving altogether. Short, frequent walks on flat ground should be performed as tolerated to promote knee mobility and function.

ICE OR HEAT

If you notice swelling, go with ice instead of hot packs. This is particularly important in the first 48-72 hours after the injury occurred. This will help soothe the inflammation, reduce stiffness and promote healing. You can learn more about correct icing techniques on our Icing Instructional Guide.

EXERCISES
Also begin a targeted LCL exercise program. Make sure you address both strength and flexibility (see below.) Luckily you don't have to figure out which exercises to perform, our PT's have done it for you! 

 

Due to your limited time, we have prioritized the Top 4 Exercises. See below.

 

Try to perform your exercises a few times a day. You can slowly cycle down as the pain diminishes.

 

LCL BRACE

The evidence on knee braces is mixed and should not replace exercises. That said, many individuals report significant pain relief with a good brace, particularly in the immediate period after an LCL sprain. For additional guidance, please view our Knee Brace Review page.

WHAT TO EXPECT
If it's a mild injury then the above listed strategies should lead to significant improvement in a few days.

BACK IN ACTION
Once the pain diminishes, slowly ease back into your normal daily and athletic activities. Ideally this is done with a clinician to monitor and guide your return to sport rehab plan. Either way take it slow and let pain be your guide.

A WORD OF CAUTION

To be clear, if the ligament(s) are injured beyond a certain extent, full recovery may require surgery. 

NOT IMPROVING FAST ENOUGH?
Connecting with a joint care professional is the logical next step. Many individuals find this a bit daunting and delay care. But it is important to keep in mind that, generally speaking, the earlier treatment is initiated the more likely you are to experience a full recovery. 

 

JOINT CARE + YOUR INSURANCE

To review your Physical Therapy options, check out our PT Resource Guide. To find a clinician who accepts your insurance, you can launch our Physiobot Care Access Specialist.

RESOURCES

-- Check with your doctor or local physical therapist prior to initiating a new exercise program --

YOUR EXERCISES

Selected based on your condition match and care profile

Stretches

Hold for 45-60 seconds

1-2 repetitions per session

Perform on each side

Strengthening

10-15 repetitions per set

1 set per session

Perform on each side

Want to save for later? We are happy to email your exercises.

#1

Range of Motion

Following a ligament injury the knee tends to swell, restricting the knee range-of-motion. This exercise methodically and safely address this tightness and ROM restriction.

#2

Short Arc Quads

This exercise targets the end range of knee extension strength. This range often weakens following a knee injury, leading to knee buckling and pain.

#3

Quad Strength

The quadriceps are key to activities such as getting out of chairs without pain or difficulty. This exercise strengthens them without adding strain to the LCL.

#4

Hamstrings Recruitment

This exercise is a conservative approach to both improving hamstrings contraction AND your knee's range-of-motion.