Can Physical Therapy help a torn MCL?

5 Jul, 2022

The Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) is the most common type of ligament damage in the knee. MCL injuries can reduce the stability and support of the knee, and even lead to pain and swelling.

A physical therapist can help restore the full function of certain MCL injuries through specialised strengthening exercises.

What is the MCL and how can it be damaged?

The MCL is the ligament that goes down the inside of the knee joint and connects the femur to the tibia. Thanks to this ligament, the knee joint is prevented from moving sideways, as well as bending inwards, providing support and stability to this joint.

Torn MCL

MCL tears are one of the most common types of knee injuries for professional athletes, such as football players. MCL treatments are a common type of procedure in the field of sports medicine.

However, non-athletes can also suffer this type of soft tissue injury as a result of:

  • Car accident traumas
  • Skiing
  • Twisting the knee by changing walking direction to quickly

How are MLC injuries treated?

For the most part, medial collateral ligament injuries can be successfully treated through physical therapy in a matter of weeks. Unless the client also damaged the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), MCL therapies can be rather straightforward.

The goal is to restore mobility, stability, and function in the knee.

First, the physical therapist will perform a Valgus stress test to assess the level of damage the knee has. After this, physical therapy will take a personalised approach that’s specific to the case of every client.

Usually, the first part of physical therapy will focus on reducing the pain and swelling in the area. Then, the physical therapist will help the client regain a full range of motion. Some types of MCL treatments can include:

  • Pain management treatments, such as manual therapy
  • Range of motion exercises to improve knee flexion
  • Strengthening exercises for the knee and thigh muscles

How do you know if you have injured your MCL?

Usually, people with MCL injuries can experience any of the following:

  • Feeling pain on the inner side of the knee
  • Bruising and swelling in the inner side of the knee
  • Reduced knee flexion ability
  • Feeling unstable when keeping the knee straight (such as when standing)

You should also know that MCL injuries can vary in severity:

  • Grade I: This is a mild MCL sprain, usually presents with some tenderness and mild pain;
  • Grade II: The MCL is partially torn and likely presents with intense pain and swelling
  • Grade III: The MCL is completely torn and the knee is likely very unstable and loose. If the MCL injury is grade III, the client usually has other co-occurring knee injuries, such as an ACL tear.

If the MCL injury is grade III, the client usually has other co-occurring knee injuries, such as an ACL tear.

Think you may have an MCL injury? Gen Physio can help

Gen Physio is here to help with at-home physiotherapy services that can help your knee regain its full range of motion.

Our team of expert Physiotherapists currently service Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Tweed Coast, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Sydney areas. You don’t need to travel to get access to effective Physiotherapy anymore!

If you’re ready to book an appointment, please fill out this online form to get started.

Need more information? Call us on 1300 122 884 today!

You may also like…