I tore my MCL! What does that mean?
I tore my MCL!
The Medial Collateral Ligament is one of the four crucial ligaments that support and stabilise the knee joint. It runs vertically on the inside (medial aspect) of the knee , connecting the end of the femur to the top of the tibia.
It is made of thick fibrous tissue, and limits outward (lateral) movement of the lower leg. The MCL is commonly injured in many sports e.g. soccer and football, where the lower leg is planted into the ground and a direct blow is sustained to the outside of the knee, stretching the structures on the medial aspect of the knee and forcing the joint to ‘open up.’
There are Four Grades of MCL Tears:
- Grade 1: A partial, incomplete tear where the tendon is still intact. Pain is reproduced with direct pressure over the top of the MCL. Grade 1 injuries usually only require 2 – 4 weeks rest before returning to sport.
- Grade 2: Similar to Grade 1 injuries, these tears are ‘partial’ or ‘incomplete,’ however, more severe in nature. Symptoms of pain and inflammation are also more severe. Grade 2 tears may require 4-6 weeks rest before returning to activity.
- Grade 3: This is a complete tear of the MCL ligament. Symptoms include severe pain, swelling, difficulty weight-bearing, restricted range of motion, feeling of instability or ‘giving way.’ These injuries take longer to recover from - a minimum time period of 6 weeks.
At Health Space, our Physiotherapists are highly experienced in the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of MCL injuries. Once an MCL tear is suspected following a physical examination, further investigation via X-ray or MRI may be indicated. Treatment may include a combination of soft tissue therapy techniques, dry needling, gentle knee joint mobilisations, taping, bracing as well as prescription of a specific home rehabilitation program including stretching and strengthening exercises.
For more information on how our Physiotherapists can help you in the recovery of your MCL injury, contact your closest clinic today and see one of our experts.
Physiotherapist Potts Point and Mona Vale