Preventing MCL Tears (medial collateral ligament)

The MCL, or medial collateral ligament, runs down the inner part of the knee from the thigh bone to about five inches from the top of the shinbone. The MCL prevents the leg from over-extending inward, helps to stabilize the knee, and allows it to rotate.

An MCL injury results in a sprain that can either stretch or tear the ligament. A quick change in direction resulting in an unnatural twisting or bending of the knee can result in a torn MCL, as well as a direct blow to the knee. Stop-and-go sports like football, soccer, lacrosse, or basketball increase the risk of an MCL tear. Depending on its severity, an MCL injury can be classified on a scale of 3 grades. These grades determine the extent to which the ligament was torn, along with the appropriate recovery time and treatment needed for your knee to heal properly. You’re always at risk of an MCL injury when you participate in sports, but there are some things you can do to reduce the likelihood of injury.

Listen to your coaches. They should have been taught the proper technique that reduces the risk of injury. If you feel fatigued, do not exert yourself. When you’re tired, a small mistake made by not paying attention could result in an injury to your knee. Also be sure to wear athletic shoes. For soccer, lacrosse, or football, make sure your cleats are not worn down. For basketball, make sure your shoes provide lateral support. For further prevention, these exercises can prepare your knee for the movement you’ll require during play:

  • Lateral squats

  • Knee hugs

  • Backward lunge

  • Forward lunge

Working with a physical therapist at Farmingdale Physical Therapy East can help you recover from an MCL injury or give you exercises to help prevent tears. Balance and agility drills, warm up routines, and consistent flexibility exercises can be provided for athletes looking to protect their body. Contact us to make an appointment today!

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