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MCL Injury Recovery

MCL Injury Recovery takes time to fully recover from.

Only severe MCL ligament injuries will require surgery, while most MCL injuries can be treated with RICE Method and exercise treatment to heal the MCL ligament.

Treating an MCL ligament injury will depend on how severe the actual injury is.

MCL treatment should start by letting the pain subside, than working on mobility of the knee followed by strengthening the knee before returning to any sport or activity.

Wearing a knee brace during an MCL knee injury helps accelerate the healing process as it provides support to the injured ligament.

As I mentioned above, only very severe MCL ligament tear will require knee surgery to start the healing process.

MCL injury rehab, recovery time and MCL rehab exercises will depend on the degree and extent of the MCL ligament injury.

MCL Injury Recovery
GRADE I Treatment

Grade I MCL injury occurs when the MCL ligament is overstretched, causing less than 10% of ligament fibers to tear.

This is considered a mild sprain and it is important to take the proper time off from playing soccer or other activity that involves running and changing direction.

  • Rest 2-4 weeks from any activity that involves running.
  • RICE (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) for accelerated recovery.
  • Use of anti-inflammatory medicine is recommended to help with any swelling.
  • Knee exercises explained at the end of this article will help with strengthening the MCL ligament.

MCL Injury Recovery

The second degree of the MCL knee ligament injury will follow with more severe pain and instability of the MCL knee ligament, preventing athletes from participating in their sport for a minimum of 4 weeks.

Use of hinged knee brace is recommended in the early stages (first 2 weeks of MCL rehab) whenever walking.

Hinged knee brace will help with providing support to the injured ligament every time the knee is bent.

Treatment principles will be the same as for the Grade I MCL ligament injury with recovery time being slightly longer. 

  • Rest from any activity that involves running for 4-8 weeks.
  • Use of RICE (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) to speed up the recovery time.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication to help with any swelling. 
  • Knee exercises to help with the mobility and strengthening of the injured MCL ligament.

Athletes can return to their sport when there is no pain or any symptoms of instability to the knee.

MCL Injury Recovery
GRADE III Treatment

Grade III MCL injury will involve a complete tear to the MCL ligament, in some cases injuring other knee ligaments that hold the knee in place.

Inability to walk is to be expected, so the crutches or a knee brace should be used for the first 3 - 5 days after the injury occurs.

Immobilizing the knee should not last more than few days because early range of motion will help in the healing process.

Once able to bend the knee, athletes should start using the stationary bicycle.

Walking and progression to jogging should be started as the pain subsides and allows to do so.

Use of hinged brace after one week is very helpful to keep the knee stable, especially during the early stages of MCL injury rehab.

RICE (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) to accelerate healing process.

Knee strengthening exercises 4 weeks after the injury occurs.

Athletes will usually need 3 - 6 months before returning to their sport; and should only return when there is no pain or discomfort in the MCL ligament area.

As like with any injury, Grade III injury to the knee may also injure other parts of the knee, so it is highly recommended to seek professional opinion anytime you suspect a Grade III injury happening.

Doctors have access to necessary equipment to fully assess the damage done to the knee. 

For more information on MCL knee injury and rehab visit Medial Knee Ligament Injury.

MCL Injury RECOVERY Exercises

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