Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is for educational purposes only. This is not a substitute for a medical appointment. Please refer to your physician before starting any exercise program.
Knee injuries are one of the most frequently injured joints in the body within the United States, especially in the athletic population. One of the most common knee injuries is an injury to the Medial Collateral Ligament of the MCL. The MCL can be involved in complex injuries that also involve other ligaments such as the ACL or as an isolation injury.
The isolated MCL injury occurs at a rate of 7.3 per 1000 people with almost equal percentage amongst men and women. It may also be injured in more complex injuries that involve the ACL or meniscus, and can be part of the “unhappy triad.”
If you have pain on the inside of your knee after a fall, collision, or a twisting injury then you have come to the right place.
|Brace Name||Award||Stability (0-10)||Comfort (0-10)||Picture||Sale Price|
|This brace wins the: “I’m returning to the field and need some lightweight support.” Award||7/10||9/10||See Best Price|
|This brace wins the: “I want the best all around brace” award||9/10||8/10||See Best Price|
|This Brace wins the: “I need an affordable solid brace” award||8/10||8/10||See Best Price|
|This wins the ” I need a brace to last me through the thick of things ” award||9/10||8/10||See Best Price|
|This brace wins the “I need a little support at a little price” award||6/10||8/10||See Best Price|
|This Brace win the “My knee isn’t that bad but I need a little something and look good at the same time” award||6/10
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|This brace wins the “I’m not sure if I need a brace but thinking of trying one” award||6/10
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What is the MCL?
The MCL is one of the major ligament that supports the knee. The MCL run on the inside of the knee by connecting the femur (thigh bone) to the (tibia) shin bone. The MCL’s primary job is to prevent sideways or lateral movement of the knee joint. It is under strain when subjected to external forces from the outside of the knee or when pivoting. When a force comes from the outside of the knee it stretches the ligaments on the inside of the knee. If the force is great enough, it can cause tearing or fraying of the ligament. It also does play an important role in rotational stability to help to control forces when changing directions.
All about MCL Tears
Different Grades of MCL sprains
MCL sprains come in 3 grades; Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 3. Each grade depends on the extent of the tear.
Grade 1 MCL Sprain
- The grade 1 tear is the mildest out of all 3 grades. In this grade, there is usually no swelling observed just a minimal pain is felt in the knee.
- These will usually heal within 1-3 weeks and rarely needs bracing
Grade 2 MCL Sprain
- Grade 2 on the other hand, leads to swelling and a pronounced tenderness is felt along the MCL and inside the knee.
- This may cause limping, pain with running, and stairs
- This may benefit from light bracing if returning to sport early or there is a feeling of giving out
- Will usually heal within 2-4 weeks
Grade 3 MCL Sprain
- Grade 3 stands out as the most severe out of all 3 grades. It usually involves a complete tear of the ligaments leading to varying degrees of pain.
- This may also lead to feeling of the knee giving away during stairs or walking. Limping is common.
- This injury usually take 6-10 weeks to heal depending on the severity and usually responds well to bracing
The good news is that MCL injuries usually heal on their own and rarely require surgery unless it is injured in combination without other ligaments or the Meniscus. Although it will take a couple of days or months depending on the grade of the tear.
What to Look for When Purchasing an MCL Brace
An MCL brace can be really helpful in the event of an MCL sprain. When purchasing you want to consider some important aspects:
- Does the brace have enough stability on the inside of the knee? Some “one size fits all” braces don’t always have the best medial stability. Does it have too much stability. If your tear is minor the a full hinged brace may only get in the way
Ease of Use:
- How easy it is to use? Can you take it on and off quickly yet still get the right amount of stability. Is it easy to wash? Is it going to retain odor?
- Is the brace comfortable? If it’s not comfortable there is much less of a chance that you will wear it even when you should be.
- If you have ever read any of our review posts before you know that we love warranties. If it doesn’t work right, or it simply is isn’t quite what you wanted then want to help make sure that you get your money back. Your satisfaction is our primary goal.
The Best Knee Braces for MCL Injuries
The Exo-Tech Quad brace is a great lightweight option. It offers moderate support without being too bulky and getting in the way. This is less bulky without the metal side hinges. This is perfect for returning to sport after filamentous injury. Good breath ability and provides the ability to tighten as much as needed for individual fit. No warranty mentioned but contact Zamst if needed.
The DonJoy brace is one of our favorites. It’s made from the highest quality material that is really comfortable to the skin. It comes with hinges on both sides of the knee providing the needed support. This brace is incredibly easy to use and take on/off. Perfect for the person with mild to moderate MCL sprains that wants a long lasting durable brace.
The Vive hinged knee brace provides some great features. It has great support through aluminum hinges on both sides of the brace. The unique part of the hinges is that these are removable and can be used without the hinges. The hinges provide the MCL the greatest support but this is a cool option. This is best for those looking for moderate to more support yet without a large bulky brace. This is also lightweight using latex free neoprene and comes with a 60 day no questions asked guarantee.
The shock doctor knee brace is another favorite of ours. It’s one of the best overall supporting braces on the market. It is bulkier that some of the others but best for those that have a moderate or greater ligament strain. Despite the full support it is breathable, soft, and comfortable to wear. Make sure to measure correctly and maybe even order a size up when ordering.
The Bracoo Knee brace is a great low cost option. It has a stabilizer on each side of the knee brace that allows for firm support during movement and activities. This brace is lightweight and very breathable as compared to most braces with the open patella and open back of the knee design. It is easily adjustable for different leg sizes with the Velcro straps.This brace is great for mild to moderate strains and is small enough to put into a purse or in a gym bag.
The Velpeau knee brace is one of the lighter options and is best for those that are looking for just a little bit of support.without being too bulky. This is best for grade 1 or grade 2 sprains that are further along the healing process. This Velpeau brace is lightweight, breathable, provides patella support, and helps with swelling from the compression. The flexible metal supports on the side are what provide the additional support for the MCL and lateral movement. The brace is is easy to use, take on and off, and absorbs sweat well. Finally, our favorite comes with a 12 months guarantee so if it doesn’t work you can return it.
The ANRie brace is another lightweight option that is perfect for grade 1 and healing grade 2 injuries. This is also breathable, has anti slip silicone strips on the edges to prevent slipping, and provides good compression to manage edema and swelling. This brace provides stability on the MCL through metal supports on each side of the brace. Finally, it has a 12 month money back guarantee which is our favorite thing.
- Image from: https://www.absolutelifewellnesscenter.com/acl-vs-mcl-pcl/