Lateral Collateral Knee Ligament Injury

Updated: Mar 09, 2015
  • Author: Sherwin SW Ho, MD; Chief Editor: Sherwin SW Ho, MD  more...
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Overview

Background

Lateral collateral ligament (LCL) injuries result from a varus force across the knee. A contact injury, such as a direct blow to the medial side of the knee, or a noncontact injury, such as a hyperextension stress, may result in a varus force across the knee injuring the LCL. In terms of functionality, the LCL has often been grouped with the popliteofibular ligament and the popliteus tendon as the posterolateral corner (PLC).

See the figure below.

The medial and lateral collateral ligaments of the The medial and lateral collateral ligaments of the knee. Courtesy of Randale Sechrest, MD, CEO, Medical Multimedia Group
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Functional Anatomy

The LCL is a round ligament that originates close to the lateral epicondyle and inserts onto the fibular head.

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Sport-Specific Biomechanics

Varus stress

The LCL is the primary restraint to varus stress across the knee.

External tibial rotation

The PLC, which includes the LCL, popliteofibular ligament, and popliteus tendon, is the primary restraint to external rotation stress across the knee.

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