ACL Tear vs MCL Tear

One of the most difficult injuries for athletes is a knee injury. An ACL or MCL tear can stop your sports in their tracks, sometimes permanently. But what is the difference between an ACL tear and an MCL tear? Which one is worse? Are they treated differently?

What Are ACLs and MCLs?

There are actually four ligaments that support the knee and stabilize the bones that connect to your knee joint. They are the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), the medial collateral ligament (MCL), and the lateral collateral ligament (LCL). While knee injuries can occur with any of these ligaments, ACL and MCL injuries are the most common.

How Do I Know If I Injured My Knee?

The surest signs of a knee injury include swelling and pain. You may hear a popping sound or at least feel it. If you do injure your knee, you should schedule an appointment with Dr. Tyrrell Burrus, Board-Certified orthopedic surgeon practicing at Orthopedic Associates of Central Texas who sees patients in South Austin, Southwest Austin, Bastrop, and more. Dr. Burrus will help you determine whether you have an ACL tear or an MCL tear or if there is something else wrong. While you wait for your appointment, use the RICE method to reduce pain and swelling: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.

Are ACL or MCL Injuries Worse?

ACL injuries are more complex than MCL injuries. Many MCL injuries can be resolved with rest and physical therapy. ACL tears often require surgery. To determine the severity of the injury, Dr. Burrus will conduct a complete examination and also gather information about how the injury occurred. If there was immediate swelling, weakness in the knee, or limited mobility, surgery may be necessary.

If you are experiencing pain or have a sports injury, make an appointment today with Dr. Burrus, who has offices in Austin TX and its surrounding areas. He specializes in arthroscopic surgery and also offers physical therapy. Do not ignore knee pain; receiving an examination as soon as possible can help you get the proper treatment to help you return to your lifestyle faster.