Medial Collateral Ligament Tear in Children

Medial collateral ligament tears are less common in children. Most often, it occurs in teenage athletes who participate in sports, such as football and ice hockey. Younger children below the age of 12 years are less likely to injure their MCL, as in them, the bone where the ligament attaches may break.

The skeletally immature knee in a child slightly differs from the adult knee and may result in mild variations of injury patterns. In children the epiphyseal plates (growth plates) are weak compared with ligaments in the adults. Growth plate also called the epiphyseal plate or physis is the area of growing tissue made up of cartilage (rubbery material) found at the ends of the long bones in children. Therefore, any extraneous force on the knee causes physeal injury rather than the ligament injury. Hence MCL injuries are less common in children.