What is the difference between a torn ACL and MCL?

Knee injuries are very common for people working in medical and construction. The knee is a very complicated joint involving multiple ligaments, bones and muscles working in tandem to help you move.

However, sustaining an injury to your ACL or MCL can cause you to miss months’ worth of work or even prevent work altogether. According to Ventura Orthopedics, the ACL and MCL are both ligaments in the knee, but they serve different functions.

What is an ACL tear?

The primary function of your ACL is to keep your knee from turning too much, thus preventing your tibia from overextension. In the event that you sustained an injury to your ACL, it is likely because your knee dislocated or twisted suddenly.

Usually, if you tear your ACL, you will hear a loud popping noise. The pain begins automatically and it is likely you will experience swelling a couple of hours after the tear. You will have a hard time walking and you may not be able to straighten your knee.

What is an MCL tear?

Your MCL prevents your leg from extending too far inward, and it also allows your knee to rotate. Usually, you will injure your MCL during rigorous physical work. You can also sustain an injury to your MCL if something hits your knee on the outside. This causes the ligaments to stretch and may lead to tearing.

If you injure your MCL, the first indication is often pain on the inner side of your knee. You may also experience bruising, as well as pain when you try to bend or straighten your knee. You may even have a hard time walking without your knees giving out.


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