3 September 2019,

treatment for torn ACL and MCL

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) are two important structures in the knee. Along with other ligaments, the ACL and MCL work together to help keep the knee stable and moving properly. A torn ACL can occur in conjunction with a Grade 1, 2, or 3 MCL tear. The treatment for torn ACL and MCL will usually involve surgery to repair the torn ACL, while the MCL injury is treated based on the grade of injury.

Healing from a Multi-Ligament Knee Injury

In an athlete with an ACL tear and MCL tear, surgery will most likely be recommended to obtain a stable knee for sports. In someone who does not participate in sports, an isolated ACL injured knee may do well with non-operative treatment. However, when the MCL is injured at the same time, it is more likely that the ACL tear will require surgery. The overall treatment plan for a combined ACL tear and MCL injury will vary depending on the severity of the MCL injury.

MCL injuries are categorized as Grade 1, 2 or 3. Generally speaking, recovery time will typically be longer for those with higher grade injuries.

Treatment for Torn ACL and MCL Injuries

Here are some guidelines on what to expect when an MCL injury occurs along with an ACL tear:

  • – ACL Tear & Grade 1 MCL – For these minor MCL injuries, non-athletic patients are often able to achieve relief by resting, taking anti-inflammatory medication and completing physical therapy exercises. ACL reconstruction surgery should proceed for the ACL tear if instability or pain persists after the MCL injury has healed.
  • – ACL Tear & Grade 2 MCL Patients with moderate severity MCL injuries are often instructed to wear a knee brace for around 4-6 weeks before ACL reconstruction. This is in order to keep weight off the knee and promote MCL healing. The patient will begin physical therapy to regain range of motion and stability in the knee joint. If these treatment approaches do not work effectively, an orthopedic surgeon may suggest surgical repair/reconstruction for the MCL as well as the ACL.
  • – ACL Tear & Grade 3 MCL – When an MCL injury is considered to be Grade 3, or complete, surgical repair of the MCL at the same time as the ACL will likely be needed. It is controversial as to whether surgery should be done as soon as possible by repairing the MCL and reconstructing the ACL versus waiting to regain range of motion and performing a reconstruction of both the MCL and ACL in several weeks. Care should be individualized to each patient.


The overall treatment plan for a torn ACL and MCL injury will vary depending on the severity of the MCL injury, as well as other factors such as the patient’s age and activity level. In order to minimize rehabilitation time, strategic timing of treatment is essential.

Dr. Stephen Soffer Specializes in the Treatment of Multi-Ligament Knee Injuries

Are you experiencing symptoms of a multi-ligament knee injury? Seeking treatment for torn ACL and MCL injuries right away is crucial to give you the highest chance of making a speedy and complete recovery. Skilled orthopedic surgeon Dr. Stephen Soffer is here to help you create an effective treatment plan that will get you back on your feet as quickly as possible.

Whether your injuries require surgical treatment or can be conservatively managed, Dr. Soffer will offer you cutting-edge treatment options backed by his expertise. Furthermore, he will thoroughly explain your options and what you can expect your recovery time to be.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Soffer, please call our office at 610-375-4949. We are here to help you heal from your knee injury so that you can resume an active and enjoyable lifestyle.

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