MCL Injury Treatment Options | IMPACT Physical Therapy

MCL Injury Treatment

A man with a knee injury

If you’re experiencing knee pain, tenderness, and swelling—particularly along the inner side of your knee—as well as a feeling that your knee is going to “give out” if you put your weight on it, you may be dealing with a medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury. The MCL is a band of tissue inside the knee that connects your thighbone to the bone of your lower leg.

MCL injury treatment protocol varies depending on the severity of your injury. In fact, although many athletes worry that surgery is unavoidable, surgical MCL injury treatment isn’t always the only option. Below, we’ll take a closer look at treatment options for mild to severe injuries, including how to treat an MCL injury with non-surgical methods like physical therapy.

MCL Injury Treatment: Mild, Moderate, & Severe Tears

How to treat an MCL injury depends on the severity of your injury, what sort of activity you want to return to, and the discretion of your surgeon or physical therapist. See below for a brief breakdown of MCL injury treatment options for mild, moderate, and severe sprains and tears:

  • If you have a mild or grade 1 MCL injury, treatment may involve nothing more than rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medicine.  You may also need to take a break from your normal physical activities for a few weeks. A physical therapist can suggest gentle movements and stretches to help you heal and regain flexibility in the injured knee. Many mild injuries heal in one to three weeks.
  • With a moderate or grade 2 MCL injury, you may need up to a month to fully recover. You will likely need to wear a hinged knee brace during this time to limit weight-bearing.
  • If you’ve sustained a severe or grade 3 MCL injury, treatment could involve wearing a brace for  several months and continuing to limit weight-bearing for 4 to 6 weeks. Depending on the sport or activity that you’d like to return to, you may also elect to have surgery to repair the torn MCL.

How to Treat an MCL Injury With Physical Therapy

Whether you opt for surgical or non-surgical MCL injury treatment, you’ll likely work with a physical therapist to increase your range of motion and build strength in your quadriceps and hamstring muscles. You will be given a series of exercises to match your ability level and healing progress. If you play a sport, your physical therapy team with tailor your program toward the type of movements needed for your sport.

Do You Need Surgical MCL Injury Treatment?

MCL injury treatment consisting of rest and physical therapy alone is a great option for non-athletes looking to regain normal mobility for everyday life. However, many young competitive athletes and professional athletes select surgical MCL injury treatment because their knees will need to withstand high levels of stress and pressure when they return to their sport. 

Whichever path you choose, you can find IMPACT Physical therapy clinics in South Loop, Lakeview, Norridge, the South West Suburbs, and Champaign Urbana.

Explore MCL Injury Treatment & Rehab Options at IMPACT Physical Therapy

To learn more about how to treat an MCL injury with physical therapy, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 888-915-2963! We’re happy to help you schedule an appointment and locate a IMPACT Physical Therapy clinic near you in downtown Chicago, Hinsdale, Oak Lawn, or Orland Park.