This is really really orthopedic. I heard on the radio this morning that Ryan Lochte tore his MCL. If you don’t know who Ryan Lochte is email me about it because I’ll surely get sued for libel if I talk about him on a public blog. Anyway, if you’re a football fan you’ve most certainly heard these terms. Football players absolutely LOVE to tear these ligaments. They love it. Ligaments connect bone to bone. ACL = anterior cruciate ligament, PCL = posterior cruciate ligament, MCL = medial collateral ligament, LCL = lateral collateral ligament. Cruciate means that they cross. The ACL and PCL cross each other and make an ‘X’ in the knee. Collateral just means that there are two of them and they’re parallel. The ACL, the most popular ligament in the knee, maybe in the whole body, runs from the back of the femur(thigh bone) to the front of the tibia(shin bone). Its job is to prevent hyperextension of the knee and stop the knee from twisting. So when you straighten out the knee this ligament gets taught and prevents any further motion from happening. It also gets taught when the foot is planted down and the rest of the body twists. Sometimes, the foot is planted but the body keeps twisting and you hear an awful sound coming from the knee – that’s your ACL tearing. The PCL does the opposite. It runs from the front of the femur to the back of the tibia. It gets hurt less often. The collateral ligaments run down the sides of the knee connecting the bottom of the femur to the top of the tibia. The MCL is on the inside of the knee and the LCL is on the outside of the knee. There’s all kinds of ways to fix these – sometimes they use a tendon, sometimes a part of a cadaver. Yes, a cadaver. A dead body. Sometimes, they use the ligament of a pig! This is not a joke. There is no way to know how well a recovery from one of these surgeries will be, just like recovering from a stroke!!