Elbow Hyper-Medial Collateral Ligament Tear

A MCL tear is an elbow injury that is characterized by overstretching or tearing of the Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) of the elbow.

The MCL is one of the most important ligaments of the elbow, giving it stability. The MCL achieves this role by preventing excessive sideways movement. If these sideways movements are excessive and beyond what the MCL can withstand, a MCL tear can occur.

A MCL tear can range from a small partial tear to a complete rupture of the MCL, with the small partial resulting in only minimal pain while the complete rupture results in significant pain and disability. The grading of an MCL tear is as follows:

  • Grade 1 tear: a small number of fibres are torn resulting in some pain but allowing full functioning

  • Grade 2 tear: a significant number of fibres are torn with moderate loss of function

  • Grade 3 tear: all fibres are ruptured resulting in elbow instability and major loss of function