How to Tell if You Have a Bruised MCL


Your medial collateral ligament -- or MCL -- is located along the inside of your femur -- thigh bone. Your MCL runs down the side of your knee and connects to your tibia -- shin bone. Your MCL functions to prevent your knee from buckling under stress. A bruise to your MCL can occur as the result of a direct blow to the inside of your knee or as the result of an abnormal twisting or movement of your knee. This may also be referred to a contusion.

Men playing football
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Step 1

Recall an instance of injury. If you bruised your MCL, you will likely be able to recall when your injury occurred. You may remember following, colliding with another athlete or a sudden, twisting of your knee joint.

Man touching MCL
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Step 2

Take note of the location of your pain. A bruised MCL will cause pain and tenderness along the inside of your knee.

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Step 3

Look for bruising and swelling. A contusion crushes your muscle fibers and connective tissues without causing damage to your skin. Your skin may turn a blue-ish, purple color as the result of blood pooling underneath your skin. Swelling may also occur along the inside of your knee.

Woman holding knees
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Step 4

Visit with your doctor. MCL bruises are usually nothing serious. However, bruises may be an indicator of a more severe injury. Bone fractures, knee dislocations, sprains and ligament damage can also occur to your knee and MCL. If pain from your MCL bruise persists for more than a few days, visit your doctor for a diagnosis.

Woman talking with doctor
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Tips & Warnings

  • MCL bruises can normally be treated at home. Treat using the RICE method. Rest your affected leg. Apply ice for 15 to 30 minutes at a time, three to four times per day. Apply a compression bandage to your knee to control swelling. Elevate your knee as much as possible for the first 48 hours following injury.


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