I have fallen over skiing and hurt my knee – what have I done!

 

Unfortunately, there are many knee injuries that may occur but the most common one is a MCL strain or medial collateral ligament strain.

Brisbane city Physio skiing injury treatement recovery

 

What is a Medial Collateral Ligament Injury?

 

The medial collateral ligament is a ligament on the inner part of your knee that connects your thigh bone (femur) to your shin (tibia). It plays an important role in the stability of your knee and also stops your knee from bending inwards.

Injury to your medial collateral ligament most commonly occurs when there is an excessive inwards stress to your knee, particularly so when it is bent slightly. This can stretch or rupture some or all of the ligament fibres. This commonly occurs in skiing (non-contact) but can also occur in contact sports when someone runs into your knee and pushes it inwards.

 

Did you know most skiing knee injuries occur at slow speed?

Like just getting off a chair lift and having a fall!

 

There are 3 grades of ligament injuries, depending on the severity:

 

Grade 1: damage to only a few of the ligament fibres
Grade 2: damage to a more significant number of the ligament fibres
Grade 3: complete rupture of the ligament

 

Symptoms of a Medial Collateral Ligament Injury:

 

Symptoms of medial collateral ligament injury will vary depending on the severity of your injury but can include:
+ Pain over the inside of your knee
+ Swelling around the inside of your knee, that may spread to anywhere around your knee
+ Stiffness of your knee, and decreased range of movement
+ Tenderness over the inside of your knee
+ Giving way or instability of your knee, particularly when standing up and walking.

 

Assessment of Your Medial Collateral Ligament Injury:

 

A comprehensive assessment of your knee is paramount to diagnose the specific injury to your knee. The MCL injury is the most common injury but other significant injuries need to be ruled out like the dreaded ACL (anterior Cruciate Ligament) rupture or a meniscus tear.

The MCL injury is diagnosed by a specific test to stress the ligament and grade how much damage has occurred.

 

Treatment for a Medial Collateral Ligament Injury:

 

Physiotherapy is recommended for Grade 1 and Grade 2 ligament injuries. If your Alll Care Physiotherapist suspects you have a Grade 3 ligament injury, they will recommend that you get a scan of your knee and refer you one of our Orthopaedic Surgeons for surgical review.

If you have a Grade 1 or Grade 2 injury, treatment will assist the ligament to heal and address any deficits found on assessment.

 

Treatment can include:

 

+ Advice and education on your condition and your treatment plan
+ RICE – rest, ice, compression, elevation of your knee
+ Wearing a brace to provide extra stability to your knee, and prevent excessive movements. A brace is normally required for 6 weeks with a grade 2 MCL injury.
+ Soft tissue massage to reduce swelling
+ Electrotherapy to reduce swelling
+ Ultrasound to promote healing of the ligament
+ Joint mobilisations
+ Taping
+ Graduated muscle strengthening programs

 

Some things that you can do to help are:

 

Icing the inside of your knee:

All Care Physiotherapy sells the ‘Ice Wrap Pro’ which is ideal for your acute medial collateral ligament sprain! It provides excellent coverage of your injured knee region and also provides maximum compression to assist in your recovery.  Click here to learn more.

Ice Wrap Pro

Static quads:

Sitting on the floor/bed with your legs out straight
Pull your toes up towards you
Push your knee down into the bed, hold for 5s.
Repeat 10 times.

Inner range quads:

Sitting on the floor/bed with your legs out straight
Place a rolled up towel underneath your knee
Pull your toes up towards you
Straighten your knee over the towel, hold for 5s.
Repeat 10 times.

To make this even more targeted to the quadriceps muscles on the inside of your knee, place a ball between your knees and then complete the same exercise, squeezing the ball at the same time.

Straight leg raise:

Lying on your back
Pull your toes up towards you
Straighten your knee and lift your leg up off the floor, hold 5s.
Repeat 10 times
To make this even more targeted to the quadriceps muscles on the inside of your knee, place a ball between your knees and then complete the same exercise, squeezing the ball at the same time.

Gentle bending of your knee:

Lying on your back, gently bend the affected knee up towards you as far as you can within your pain limits.
Repeat 10 times.

Did You Know!
Treatment of a MCL injury can take from 6 to 12 weeks for full recovery.