Written by: Melanie Talastas-Soriano CAT(C)
Athletic Therapist, CFT Fitness Trainer
The knee joint is composed of many structures that includes ligaments, muscles, cartilage that makes up the knee. MCL in particular is one of structure in the knee that could be in a serious situation when injured if not treated immediately. MCL stands for medial collateral ligament that is found on the inner side of the knee that connects the femur bone and the tibial bone.
The MCL can be injured by different movements of the knee like direct blow to the outer side of the knee or medially overstretching the knee / medially twisting the knee during normal activities. This can happen when playing contact sports or unexpected fall. There are 3 different degrees of MCL ligament sprain.
1st degree sprain – mild stretch of the ligament, mild pain on the medial side of the knee,
2nd degree sprain – 50%-75% tear of the ligament. Moderate pain and abnormal gait, may need crutches.
3rd degree sprain – complete tear of the MCL. Severe sprain, recommended not to weight bear (walking).
Initial treatment: R.I.C.E. rest, ice, compression and elevation. Be sure to receive treatment from your athletic therapist. In clinic care is important for rapid return to work or play as the professionals will provide you with proper treatment for the different stages of your rehabilitation.
Once the knee is healed and ready to return to work and play, here are four simple rehab exercises you can perform at home to maintain the muscular strength surrounding the knee joint.
1. Ball Wall Squats toe out: This exercise will focus on the quadriceps muscles especially the vastus medialis oblique of the quad. The most inner muscle of the quad that is attached close to the MCL. Complete this exercise 3 sets of 10 repetitions every other day.
2. Adduction exercises using tubing: This specific exercise targets the inner thigh (adductor muscles) that is directly in contact with the MCL. Standing on one leg bring the other leg (that have the resistance tubing) inwards going over the stationary leg and repeat. Adjust the resistance for your comfort level. Complete this exercise 3 sets of 10 repetitions every other day.
3. Rocker balance to improve proprioception (awareness of the body in space). The rocker board is great for beginner balance exercise. It also helps to maintain lower body muscle strength especially joint strengthening (ankles, knees and hips). It has two directional position to challenge your balance. Balance the best you can for 1 minute each direction and repeat it 3-4 times.
4. Terminal knee extension: this exercise focuses the quadriceps muscles. Using an infinity resistance band, position the band on the hamstring (above and behind the knee joint) facing the anchor. Bend the knee slightly, then straighten the knee contracting the quad muscles.
Thank you for taking the time to read our article. Please feel free to visit our website at www.insahyu.com or contact us at 204-999-0933 for athletic therapy consultation.
Disclaimer: Please be aware that information in this article is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding an injury or medical condition.
Written by: Taylor Post BA-Kin, CAT(C)
Your spinal column is divided into three sections (cervical, thoracic and lumbar). The longest of the three segments, the thoracic spine is positioned in the middle of your upper back. To function properly, the thoracic spine needs to bend, flex, extend and rotate. All while providing support for the neck above, the rib cage, and both upper and lower limb movements. Unfortunately, all of theses movements can diminish over time with misuse and sedentary postural demands (think desk jobs and texting/typing all day). This can lead to chronic tension and pain.
Whether you use them to supplement to your upper body workouts, or as a daily mobility sequence, here are some exercises to help get you started:
1. T- Spine Rotations
Begin by lying on your right side, with your arms straight in front of you and your knees/hips tucked at ninety degrees. If needed, use a pillow or foam roller under your top knee to keep your hips and lower back stable. Next rotate to the left along your thoracic spine until your upper back and top (left) arm are flat against the ground (or as close as possible). Hold this position for 2-3 seconds and repeat 10-15 times per side.
For a more dynamic version of this exercise, begin on all fours (quadruped position). Make sure that your knees are under your hips, and that your hands are lined up directly under your shoulders. This will ensure a neutral spine position. Next you will place your right hand on the back of you neck or upper back. Do not push or pull down on your head. Leading with your elbow, rotate to open up your chest to the right. Try to point your right elbow straight up to the ceiling. Move through the available range of motion (without breaking proper form), 8-10 times on each side.
2. Spiderman Complex
Perform a forward lunge, stepping forward and slightly outwards with your right leg. Lower your body until your front (right) leg is bent at ninety degrees, and your back leg is straight (knee is almost touching the floor). From this lunge position, lean forward and touch the floor with both hands. Next you will perform the overhead reach to mobilize the thoracic spine. Keeping your right hand near your right instep, rotate and open your torso to reach overhead with your left arm, keeping it as straight as possible. Try and keep your eyes on your left hand while performing the movement. Complete 8 repetitions per side.
3. Push up Plus to Downward Dog
The first part of this movement is the push up plus. Starting in a tall plank position, with arms straight, push your upper back towards the ceiling. In other words, retract and protract your shoulder blades. This will not be a very large movement. It can, however, go a long way to build strength in your serratus anterior, a muscle that plays a big part in postural control.
The second part is the bent knee downward dog. From the plank position, push down through your hands and shift your stomach towards your thighs. Lift your hips up high, as your legs straighten (until your knees are only slightly bent). Depending on your flexibility, try to push your heels down towards the floor. Pause for 2-3 seconds at the top of the movement, before returning to high plank. Repeat this sequence for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
4. Extensions off of foam roller
Grab a foam roller and position yourself so that you’re lying with it under your upper back, perpendicular to your spine. Keep your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head to support you neck, but be careful not to pull your neck into an unnatural position.
Gently let your head fall towards the floor and try to extend your back over the foam roller. Roll slowly, up and down your spine, pausing at each vertebra to mobilize each segment. The idea is to relax your spine over the roller, to improve mobility in the vertebral joints of the thoracic spine. Make sure that you are keeping your abs tight, to avoid excessive strain on your low back. Perform as many times as needed.
Thoracic Spine mobility is essential to functional movement and proper posture. Those who lack mobility in the thoracic spine are at an increased risk for injuries to the shoulders and neck. Individuals with poor spinal mobility are also found to have an increased prevalence of low back pain. These four exercises can help unlock your thoracic spine and help you say goodbye to neck and back pain for good.
Thank you for reading and to learn more about exercises and rehab tips for injury prevention, please visit our website at www.insahyu.com
Team Insahyu: Certified Athletic Therapists and Certified Personal Trainers.