With fall sports underway, injuries are prone to happen. With the cutting, twisting and tackling movements that occur in sports, such as football and soccer, Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) injuries can occur.
The MCL is a ligament that attaches to your femur (thighbone) and tibia (shinbone) and stabilizes the knee. This protects the knee from giving way toward the inside of the knee. Injury to this ligament can arise from a force outside of the knee or when a quick, twisting motion occurs. The MCL is one of the four major ligaments that stabilize the knee. Unfortunately, when MCL injuries occur, other ligaments such as the ACL are prone to injuryas well. While this is not always the case, it has the potential to happen.
Some symptoms of MCL injuries are joint line pain (where the knee bends), stability issues in the knee, swelling and pain with lateral motions. The first few steps to take after this injury occursis to decrease
the pain and swelling. To do this, place ice on the injured area for 15-20 minutes. Taking over the counter NSAIDS (anti-inflammatory) medication will also help. Many people choose to wear a knee brace for additional knee support.
The next step is to get your knee examined by a medical professional. Athletico offers complementary screens at any of our locations and our trained professionals can supply recommendations of doctors who treat these injuries. Determining the severity of the problem helps you understand the potential length of time until your knee starts feeling better.
- Grade 1– no opening with a valgus stress test (this is an orthopedic test to test the medial stability of the knee) but pain in the joint line. Knee is in very stable condition.
- Grade 2– Mild opening with a valgus stress test, pain, swelling, partial tearing
- Grade 3– Significant swelling, unstableness, valgus stress test reveals a lot movement.
After the professional examination, x-rays and MRI are standard procedure for determining severity and correct treatment. Occasionally individuals are put on crutches or placed into a hinged knee braceuntil they can walk normally. Strengthening exercises then start to get the knee stronger through conservative measures such as ice, rest, bracing and physical therapy. On rare occasions surgery is indicated, but more often than not, the above mentioned practices are the way most MCL injuries are treated.
To schedule a complimentary injury screen for knee pain or any other complaints click here.