A lateral collateral ligament test may reveal looseness in the ligament. This involves bending the knee to 25 degrees and placing pressure on the inside surface of the knee.
Other tests may include:
- Applying ice to the area
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Raising the knee above heart level
You should limit physical activity until the pain and swelling go away. The health care provider may put you on crutches and in a brace to protect the ligament. You may also be told not to put any weight on your knee when you walk.
After a period of keeping the knee still, you should do exercises to strengthen and stretch the knee. Physical therapy may help you regain knee and leg strength.
It is rare that the LCL is the only ligament injured. If it is a partial tear, it can be treated without surgery by using only immobilization and rest.
More commonly, the LCL is injured with other ligament injuries due to a knee dislocation. These are usually significant injuries, and you should seek medical help immediately. When injuries to other ligaments also occur, surgery is needed to prevent future instability of the knee.