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.
Team Insahyu: Certified Athletic Therapists.