How Long is Recovery After LCL Surgery (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Six Months

An LCL or lateral collateral ligament injury is a very common condition that occurs after having sustained a direct blow towards the inside of the knee. There could be various reasons that this injury might happen.

Most probably it happens in high-risk sports such as football, basketball, hockey to name a few. And when it happens, there occurs a breaking of ligaments because of being stretched too far.

People are concerned about the time as to when they will be fully recovered from this injury. Here you will get the answer to this.

How Long is Recovery After LCL Surgery


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How Long is Recovery After LCL Surgery?

LCL injury is a lot more common condition than we think it to be. And in most cases, the patient fully recovers from it in about six months.

LCL reconstruction surgery is an open surgery and the patient is given a dose of general anesthesia. The patients are allowed to go back home on the day of the surgery itself. However, some patients might have to stay for some duration for monitoring.

Physical therapy is needed which lasts for about four to six weeks after surgery. And in total, a duration of 6 months is required to recover fully from this injury.

In case you are wondering, crutches will definitely be your friend for 3 weeks or so. Some painkillers would also be included in your medication list no doubt. In the recovery phase, the main thing is to increase your strength and flexibility level and also, to help restore your balance.

If the patient needs to get back to some vigorous activity level, 6 months is the minimum time he needs to recover fully.

Also, before the surgery, the doctor gives guidelines such as stop smoking, not take any anti-inflammatory medication a week prior to surgery. Also, to inform him of any ailments within the week of surgery.

Stages of LCL InjuryTime of Recovery
Grade 1At least a week
Grade 2 (non-operative)1 month
Grade 3 (requires surgery)6 months

Why Does it Take So Long to Recover After LCL Surgery?

As mentioned earlier, it takes around 6 months to recover fully from this injury. The knee contains 4 major ligaments. LCL or lateral collateral ligament is one of them. It runs along the exterior of the knee, connecting the femur to the fibula. An injury caused over here definitely takes a long time (almost 6 months).

There are various symptoms like swelling, stiffness, bruising, tenderness around the ligament, and many times, a sensation of locking of the knee. And the time duration of the recovery mostly depends on the severity of the symptoms.

For instance, in grade 1 of the LCL injury, the ligament does not tear down. Instead, it just has mild pain and swelling which recovers within a short time period (a week or two).

In grade 2, the knee ligament is partially torn. Along with it comes moderate pain, swelling, instability of the knee. The skin around the LCL suffers certain bruises. This can/cannot be treated using the non-operative method. Takes a longer time.

Grade 3 involves complete tearing of the ligament. The only way to cure this is by undergoing surgery. The symptoms include instability of the joints, major swelling, a lot of bruising, the person could hardly put weight on the leg. Recovering from this takes almost 6 months.

You may prevent such injuries from happening. Wondering how? Just carry on with regular exercising (stretching and strength training) to strengthen your knee and leg. Warming up before any intense workout or physical activities.


In a nutshell, one may say that it takes 6 months to recover from an LCL injury. However, the recovery time period also depends on the grade of injury caused. Grade 1 & Grade 2 does not take much time. Grade 3 injury somehow takes 6-7 months.

A thing you can do is, in any case, be under the guidance of a doctor. Remember, not to rush. The healing process will take time. Once you feel no pain in your knees, you may consult a doctor and then you can easily continue with your regular activities.  



Last Updated : 23 February, 2024

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27 thoughts on “How Long is Recovery After LCL Surgery (And Why)?”

  1. The detailed explanations about the nature of the injury and the recovery process are highly beneficial for readers seeking clarity on LCL injuries.

    1. Absolutely, the article’s focus on realistic recovery timelines and the recovery journey is insightful.

  2. A well-structured article that provides readers with a detailed understanding of the stages of recovery and the duration needed for full recovery from LCL injuries.

    1. Absolutely, the article’s emphasis on comprehensive recovery timelines and the detailed insights are highly beneficial.

  3. The emphasis on the severity of symptoms and the need for surgery in grade 3 injuries is an important aspect of the article.

    1. Agreed, the article serves as a reminder of the critical steps involved in treating severe LCL injuries.

    2. The detailed insights about grade 3 injuries and the recovery period are certainly enlightening.

  4. The article’s emphasis on the preventive measures and the detailed recovery timelines adds value to the understanding of LCL injury management.

    1. The preventive measures and the detailed recovery process are well-addressed in the article, providing important insights.

    2. I agree, the information provided about recovery durations and management protocols is certainly valuable.

  5. A balanced overview of recovery timelines and the detailed explanation of symptoms add depth to the understanding of LCL injuries.

    1. The article provides a comprehensive understanding of the injury and recovery stages, making it an enlightening read.

    2. I think the article effectively portrays the recovery process for LCL injuries, covering all relevant aspects.

  6. Avatar of Kennedy Darren
    Kennedy Darren

    This extensive overview of LCL injury recovery provides valuable knowledge for both patients and medical professionals.

    1. Absolutely, the article’s detailed approach is highly beneficial for understanding the recovery journey.

    2. The focus on recovery timeframes and the severity of different grades of LCL injuries is indeed comprehensive.

  7. This article provides an informative and detailed explanation of LCL injury recovery timelines. The stages of recovery for different grades of injury are well described. Very useful and comprehensive.

  8. The detailed explanation about the severity of symptoms and stages of recovery gives a clear understanding of what to expect after an LCL injury.

    1. Absolutely, the article’s comprehensive approach is useful in gaining insight into the recovery process.

    2. The article effectively provides a structured overview of recovery, leaving no room for ambiguity in the process.

  9. The timeframes outlined here are too long for recovery. A more positive perspective on rehabilitation and recovery could have been included.

    1. Avatar of Danielle Morris
      Danielle Morris

      I think the article provides a realistic view, providing the necessary details for understanding the recovery period.

    2. I can see why you would say that, but the focus is on providing an accurate portrayal of recovery durations.

  10. The article effectively outlines the recovery timelines and the need for a structured approach to recovery from LCL injuries.

    1. Absolutely, the article’s comprehensive overview is essential in gaining insight into LCL injury recovery.

    2. The detailed insights about the recovery process provide readers with a clear understanding of LCL injury management.

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