MCL Injury Treatment Guide

MCL Injury Treatment Guide

The severity of your MCL injury will determine the treatment. First, it will focus on stabilizing the knee and reducing pain. Then, once you've been cleared by your doctor, physical therapist, or another medical professional, you can start working on strengthening and mobility of the knees. Surgery is usually not required in most cases but is reserved for certain MCL injuries. Continue reading to learn about MCL injury treatment.

Initial Treatments

The MCL runs inside the knee and connects to the tibia (shinbone), the lower portion of the femur (thighbone), and the tibia. When there is heavy contact with the outside of their knees, people tend to injure the MCL. This is because the MCL prevents the knee joint from bending inwardly and can be injured.

Initial treatment for MCL knee injuries begins with the RICE acronym. The RICE acronym stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Based on the severity of your injury, your doctor may recommend additional treatments. We will discuss the conservative, at-home treatment options you can immediately start after your knee injury.


You will need to immobilize your leg immediately after the MCL injury. It will stabilize your knee joint and protect the ligament from further damage; A restrictive knee brace is used to immobilize your knee. In addition, you can reduce swelling and pain in your knee by giving it some rest.

Avoid Weight-Bearing Activities

You will need to listen carefully to your body after an MCL injury to determine the appropriate weight bearing. You should avoid long-distance walking if you have a mild MCL injury. If you have an MCL tear, you may need to stop carrying any weight for a while. Talk to your doctor before you begin moving. He will help you determine how much activity and weight your knee joint can take.

While your knee heals, you may need crutches or a walker.

Cold Therapy

The best way to reduce swelling is cold therapy. The pain signal from your brain is cut off by the cold, which reduces pain. The cold also causes blood vessels to contract, which reduces swelling. For the first three days, place a cold therapy pack on the injured knee. However, it would be best not to fall asleep with a cold pack, as it can cause skin damage.


Rest your knee and place a blanket or pillow under it to elevate your knee. Elevation will encourage fluid to return to the heart, decreasing swelling and pain. You can elevate your knee while you are watching TV or lying down.

Anti Inflammatory Medication

An MCL injury can cause severe knee pain and swelling. The nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, will help to reduce inflammation and pain. These medications can be purchased in pharmacies and are considered safe. However, to avoid unintended side effects, it is important to consult your doctor before you start any new medication.

Recovery Treatments

Each patient's recovery process will be different, depending on their injury's severity. Before you begin any exercise or recovery activities, talk to your doctor. There are many ways to speed up your recovery after you've been cleared.


Exercises for MCL injury treatment will strengthen your muscles, such as the hamstrings, to prevent further injury. Start with simple exercises that aren't weight-bearing. You will feel more confident once you have gained some experience. Next, you can start using your range of motion to strengthen your knees and legs.


A knee brace can prevent your knee from moving side to side but still allow you to move it up or down. There are many braces, but you want to ensure your knees are protected. Look for one with hinged sides. Wear your knee brace to feel supported while you do your daily activities and to prevent unintentional movements from causing further injury to your MCL.

Compression Therapy

An elastic bandage or knee sleeves can provide gentle support if you don't need a brace. This compression device works by compressing your knees and surrounding areas. It will reduce swelling and pain and provide minimal knee joint support. The most significant benefit of wearing a compression device to reduce swelling and pain is increased body awareness. In addition, it will make it less likely to injure your knee with your movements.

Physical Therapy

A physical therapist has the professional training to help with injuries such as MCL tears and sprains. Your physical therapist will assess your injury and recommend the most appropriate stretches and exercises. You will be guided through each movement by your physical therapist. They may also ask you to practice some moves at home. In addition, they will assist you in finding the correct device, such as crutches or braces, if you require mobility assistance.

Surgical Treatments

An MCL injury requires a very rare surgical procedure. This procedure is reserved for elite athletes, patients with multiple ligament tears, or those with persistent knee instability despite nonsurgical treatment. In addition, your surgeon may order imaging tests such as x-rays and MRI scans to assess the injury.

Reattaching or reconstructing damaged ligaments is the most common type of surgery. However, the recovery time can vary from one patient to another. You can speed up your recovery by following your surgeon's instructions and continuing with your physical therapy program.

Healing Your MCL Injury

MCL injury treatment starts with conservative treatments such as rest, cold pack, and compression. Next, you can further protect your knee by using a knee brace. Also, you can begin strengthening exercises for your lower and upper legs. Finally, consulting a physical therapist can help you quickly get back on your feet. To ensure that you are on the right track to recovery, you must consult your doctor before beginning any new treatment.

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