LCL Sprain

The Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) or also called the Radial Collateral Ligament (RCL) is located on the outside of the elbow. This ligament supports the elbow and provides stability at the joint. An LCL sprain occurs when this ligament is overstretched or torn.  LCL injuries are much less common than UCL injuries.

An LCL Sprain most often occurs from a fall on an outstretched hand, resulting in a dislocated elbow.


– Pain along the outside of the elbow.

– Weakness.

– Loss of range of motion.

– Feeling of instability of the elbow.

At Home Treatment

– None — see symptom checklist.



At Home Care

– Avoid irritating activities. 

– Comfort care:  ice, NSAIDs.


When to Seek Help

The LCL is rarely damaged in the absence of major trauma, like an elbow dislocation.  If you have had a major trauma, have a visible deformity, and cannot move your elbow, please head to the closest emergency department for medical assessment.

Inspired Athletx Treatment

LCL injuries at the elbow are very rare, and often need surgical reconstruction due to the traumatic nature of this kind of injury.  Physical therapy to address mobility and strength impairments in your shoulder, spine, hip, and core can begin even before surgery and continue during the immobilization period.  Manual therapy following surgery reduces pain and inflammation, promotes healing, and improves range of motion.  Strength and neuromuscular control exercises will address the entire arm, from shoulder blade to fingertips.  Upper body dominant athletes (gymnasts, swimmers, pitchers, etc) require progressive return to sport specific activities to enhance movement efficiency and reduce strain on the elbow.