Medial Collateral Injuries
The medial collateral (MCL) is the ligament that runs from the inside of the femur (thigh bone) to the inside of the tibia (shin bone). It is most commonly injured when there is an outwards to inwards stress placed across the knee when it is slightly bent; for example, when someone falls across the knee during a football tackle. There can be several degrees of tears to the MCL from a minor tear often called a grade one, through to grade three which is a complete rupture.
Signs and symptoms
Patients who have injured their MCL will often report a pain on the inside aspect of the knee joint. There may be a localised swelling and bruising. In the case of more severe tears many will describe an unstable or ‘wobbly knee’ when walking. Complete MCL tears are often associated with injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
How physiotherapy can help
Physiotherapy is essential in the early diagnosis and management of MCL injuries. In the case of a high grade tear patients will respond best if braced and supplied with crutches to reduce the amount of weight going through the knee. This devices need to be supplied and fitted by an experienced physiotherapist. The management of a mild MCL injury is primarily through physiotherapy. During session a focus will be placed on improving muscle strength and joint stability whilst helping enhance recovery time and minimising the effects of an acute injury, like scar tissue formation.