MCL Injury

In the news recently, you may have heard of a few elite sport stars suffering severe knee injuries.

Because of this, we thought we would dive a little deeper into a common type of knee injury known as an MCL injury.

MCL stands for Medial Collateral Ligament and is one of the knee’s four major ligaments. It is found on the medial (inner) side of the knee, hence its name.  This ligament plays a crucial role in ensuring the stability of the knee joint. It’s core function is to resist any kind of ‘valgus’ force – when a part of the body is turned outward from the mid-line. This kind of force, that can happen for a variety of reasons, causes the ligament to overstretch and essentially become strained. In more severe cases, the ligament can snap entirely.

Examples of instances that could cause an MCL injury:

  • A quick, sharp change in direction
  • Awkwardly landing after a jump
  • The twisting of the knee while the foot is grounded
  • More commonly a hard, blunt force such as a large tackle in football

An MCL Injury at its worst is categorised as a grade III. Those who suffer a severe, grade III MCL injury have torn the ligament completely.

As a result, the knee joint becomes extremely unstable and doesn’t have the capacity to bear weight of any kind. Many sufferers also get the feeling of their knee about to collapse or ‘give out’. This is normal and expected just after the injury has occurred. Pain is often manageable and not too severe as the initial ligament tear has occurred and is now over.  This complete snap of the ligament can cause excess swelling and bleeding under the skin, both of which are common signs of a grade III MCL injury.

It’s highly recommended for an experienced physiotherapist to fully rehabilitate an injury such as this, to ensure you can get back to pre-injury status and to return to normal activities as soon as possible. The total healing time for a grade III MCL injury is approximately 3-4 months. Physiotherapy is an absolute must for a great post-rehab outcome and a full return to usual activities, including sport.

A tailored rehabilitation plan with your experienced physiotherapist can involve the following in terms of treating your MCL injury:

  • Restore the joint’s range of motion
  • Reduce any pain and inflammation
  • Improve the alignment of the kneecap
  • Restore strength to your lower limb
  • Strengthen the knee as well as quads & hamstrings
  • Improve your balance and agility
  • Improve your overall technique (walking, running, landing etc.)
  • Gently guide your return to previous activities and sport
  • Minimise the chance of the injury reoccurring

Although most MCL Injuries can be managed effectively with a thorough rehabilitation plan by a physiotherapist, in the event that surgery is required, fantastic results are also achieved. If you would like to read a little more on how we rehabilitate knee injuries post-surgery, click here to a previous blog.

At Progressive Sports & Spinal Physiotherapy, our highly experienced team of physiotherapists have rehabilitated many patients successfully after sustaining an MCL injury. We offer the support and guidance you need to achieve your pre-injury status and to get on with life as soon as possible.

If you would like further information about our customised rehabilitation programs for MCL injuries, please feel free to contact the clinic today by calling (02) 4721 7798 or by emailing You can also click here to book an initial consultation.

Suzanne graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Health Science (Sports and Exercise Science) in 2015. She then went on to continue her studies at Macquarie University graduating from the Doctor of Physiotherapy post-graduate degree in June 2019.

Since graduating, Suzanne has worked in the local Penrith area in both private practice and Sports Physiotherapy. Suzanne has worked with sporting teams including Penrith District Netball Association, Mt Druitt Rangers (NPL), Penrith Valley Figure Skating Club, and local dance and cheer schools. 

Suzanne has a particular interest in working with artistic athletes including cheerleaders and dancers. She has a professional background in both cheer and dance and has previously worked as both a cheer coach and dance teacher. Suzanne’s previous experiences are an invaluable resource to her as a physiotherapist, as she has a thorough understanding of the level of physical fitness and skill acquisition that these athletes must have in order to be successful on stage and in competition.

Suzanne’s other areas of clinical interest reside in lower limb musculoskeletal injuries, spinal pathologies and women’s health.

Nathanial graduated as a physiotherapist in 2012 which saw him work in private practice and hospital settings gaining experience in all areas of physiotherapy including hand therapy, splinting/casting, pre/post-operative care, Men’s Health and general musculoskeletal, occupational and sports physiotherapy. Since then he has gone on to complete further studies in physiotherapy enabling him to be the only dual titled Musculoskeletal, Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist in Penrith.

Nathanial has a strong background in sports physiotherapy achieving accreditation with NSWIS as a service provider and working with many elite sports teams.

Nathanial has a particular interest in working with elite athletes, complex cases and in particular assessment and management of knee, hip and shoulder pain.

Andrea graduated from the Australian Catholic University completing her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science in 2018 and Master’s of Clinical Exercise Physiology in 2020. After graduating she attained accreditation with ESSA as an Exercise Physiologist.

During her studies she gained clinical experience in both hospital and private practice settings, working in the cardiac rehabilitation program, heart failure service and mental health unit at Nepean Hospital. And at the ACU Exercise and Lifestyle Clinic working with clients with neurological conditions, cancer and chronic musculoskeletal injuries.

Since graduating, Andrea enjoys working with a variety of clients. She has a particular interest in treating musculoskeletal injuries and neurological conditions, striving to help people increase their functional capacity to get them back to work, sport or the things they love doing.