What’s The Difference Between an ACL and MCL Tear?

Posted on September 30th, 2021 by Orthopaedic Specialty Group

Among athletes, knee injuries are one of the most common, including the dreaded ACL or MCL tear, which will mean being sidelined for at least several months. Though it’s easy to lump these two injuries together, they are very different and require their own unique treatment plan.  

What is an ACL Tear?

The ACL ligament helps keep your knee steady by preventing the knee from turning too much and the tibia from overextending. A loud popping sound can be heard when the ACL is torn, typically from a sudden twist or dislocation of the knee. Walking can then feel difficult, and there will likely be lots of pain and swelling in the area shortly after.  

What is an MCL Tear?

The MCL ligament helps stabilize the knee while allowing proper rotation. It also prevents our legs from over-extending inward. MCL tears typically happen when the knee takes a head-on hit, most commonly during intense and rigorous sporting activities such as football. When the ligament is torn, pain, swelling, and bruising will begin on the inner side of the knee, and it may be challenging to bend at all.

What is the Difference Between ACL and MCL Tears?

Though both ACL and MCL tears exhibit similar symptoms, including pain, swelling, bruising, and stiffness around the knee, a distinct popping sound can be heard when an ACL is torn. With an MCL tear, you likely won’t hear it tear. 

MCL tears are also considered easier since, most often, just rehabilitation is needed, while with an ACL tear, surgery is necessary to repair the ligament properly. Both injuries should always be taken seriously, and you should always visit an orthopedic specialist in CT to help provide you with proper treatment so that you can be on your way to a stronger than ever knee.

Orthopaedist in Fairfield County, Connecticut

It’s crucial to seek expert medical treatment if you are dealing with problems or pain associated with your bones or joints. Give the professionals at Orthopaedic Specialty group a call at (203) 337-2600, and let us know how we can help you! Don’t let that pain hold you back from living your life. Your health and safety are our top priority.