The Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) is one of the 4 main ligaments in your knee. It is along the inside part of your knee and can be overstretched in a twist and fall incident or if something crashes into your leg from the side. This type of injury rarely requires surgery, but there are ways to get rid of the pain quickly and avoid having to wear a cumbersome brace.
Gently stretching the muscles that are near to the MCL will help improve circulation which promotes faster healing. This includes the medial hamstring tendon, adductors, and the inner part of the calf. Strengthening the muscles around the knee in it’s entirety will assist that injured ligament in doing it’s job. It’s unlikely that you’ll need surgery, but with a weakened ligament you’ll want to make sure the rest of the knee is doing it’s job well so as to prevent a more involved injury. No reason to delay – these exercises can all be done simultaneously with your recovery. Gentle stretching and pain free strengthening.
Video Transcript: MCL Strain
The MCL, or Medial Collateral Ligament, is one of the 4 main ligaments in your knee. It’s like a piece of elastic that holds your upper leg bone to your lower leg bone along the inner side of your knee. It often gets strained in a twisting injury, or if someone or something slams into the outside part of your knee and awkwardly bends your knee. In an MCL strain, most of my patients complain of pain along that inner side of their knee. It hurts to the touch, and with prolonged activity time too. This is my favorite exercise to help with those symptoms. I give it to all my patients with these complaints and they are all typically surprised at how tight their muscle feels, but also pleasantly surprised with the results. Sit on the edge of your bed or your couch. Put one leg up on the bed and keep it straight, and keep the other leg firmly planted on the ground. Now, lean forward between your legs. The leg that is up on the bed should be feeling the stretch running from your groin down past your knee. Hold a medium intense stretch for at least 20 seconds. Repeat twice on both legs. I’m a licensed physical therapist, my name is Josie, and I hope this helps your knee! It’s very unlikely that an MCL strain would need to have a surgery, but it could take a few weeks for the swelling to go away,- and take your pain with it. Check out my full length PT session for all the exercises that will take you to a full recovery as quickly as possible, and learn to troubleshoot your symptoms too.