LCL Tears What is an LCL tear? An LCL tear relates to the lateral collateral ligament, which surrounds the outside of the knee. The LCL is primarily designed to provide stability when the knee is moving. When there is a tear, the knee suddenly feels unstable and loosened, meaning it can stiffen and lock up when walking or give way and cause further injury. What are the symptoms of an LCL tear? You may notice numbness, stiffness, knee pain, swelling, bruising, and the sensation that the knee is not grounded in the leg and catching in the joint. How do we treat an LCL tear? Our team will prescribe a variety of strengthening and stretching exercises that are designed to increase flexibility, improve the range of motion, limit the amount of swelling, pain and discomfort in the area, and create more balance when moving about.