The lateral collateral ligament (LCL) is a thin band of connective tissue that runs along the outside of the knee. It connects the femur (thighbone) to the fibula (the more slender long bone of the calf). Similar to the medial collateral ligament (at the inside of the knee), the LCL works to stabilize the knee as it moves. LCL tears commonly result when a direct blow to the inside of the knee stretches the outer ligament until it tears. The tear may occur anywhere along the ligament – in the middle or at either end.
People often tear the LCL while playing a sport in which forceful collisions are common, such as football or hockey. The LCL and posterolateral corner (back and outside part of the knee) may also be injured in a car accident, fall or another event that impacts the area. It's important to know that an LCL tear usually occurs in conjunction with another knee injury.
Our Approach to LCL Tears
UCSF is committed to helping patients with LCL tears return to their highest possible level of activity, whether that means a daily walk or reporting for practice with the NFL. Our team includes orthopedic surgeons, primary care sports medicine doctors, physical therapists and athletic trainers. These specialists work together to tailor a treatment plan to each patient's needs and goals.
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UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.