Treating a Torn MCL
Before anything else, it is very important that we confirm what exactly has happened to your knee. A suspected tear might be a bad sprain instead, for example. It is also possible that more than one of the ligaments has been damaged in the injury. Each factor will have a different effect on how we approach treatment.
We can often diagnose an MCL tear through a physical examination, but might have an imaging test performed if we have any specific concerns or confirmations we need to make.
If the tear is relatively mild, it can often heal naturally with proper treatment and protection. This typically involves:
- Resting and taking as much weight as possible off the affected knee. (We may recommend the use of crutches in some cases).
- Regular periods of icing and elevation of the knee.
- Wearing a brace or other equipment that restricts harmful movement of the knee.
- Taking medications to help relieve pain and inflammation.
Once swelling and discomfort have subsided enough, we may then recommend stretches and exercises to help safely rebuild strength and mobility in the knee.
Depending on the severity of the tear, it may take anywhere from 1-8 weeks to recover to a point where you may return to normal activities. It is crucial to follow all instructions carefully during this time, and only return to activities when cleared to do so.
In uncommon cases, if a tear is particularly severe or complicated, we may recommend surgery to repair or rebuild the ligament. If surgery is a consideration, we will be certain to fully discuss the details of a procedure with you, as well as answer any and all questions you may have.
Don’t Take the L
An MCL tear – like any tear of a ligament – is never a fun experience. But with the proper care, you can get back to action with little risk of complications, instability, or other future problems.
Schedule an appointment at our Roseville or Carmichael offices by calling (916) 961-3434 or by clicking the “Contact Us!” button below.