Bone, Joint and Muscle Conditions

MCL Injuries Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of MCL Injuries

If your child's knee suddenly swells after an accident or injury, they may have a torn MCL or another serious knee problem. Other signs of an MCL injury include:

  • Knee is unstable
  • Knee hurts, with pain along the inside of the knee

MCL Injuries Diagnosis

MCL testing. Courtesy of

MCL stability testing.

To help protect your child from more injuries that could hurt growing bones and joints, it is important to get a thorough evaluation and proper treatment early on. When injuries are discovered and treated early, children rarely need to have surgery to reconstruct their MCL.

When you come to our clinic, our doctors ask what happened before your child's knee began to swell and hurt. Next, we examine your child's knee. To doctors trained in sports medicine, knees with MCL tears often feel loose.

We cannot be sure that your child has a torn MCL until the swelling in the knee has gone down. This usually takes seven to 10 days. At that time, we will likely take radiographs of your child's knee to help find out what is wrong.

If it is not clear that the MCL is torn or if we think your child may have other injuries, we may ask your child to have an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan of the knee.