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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also click here to book an initial consultation.