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Stickchecked 10-22-2012 07:29 PM

Minor MCL sprain
 
I'm into the third week of a minor MCL injury and I'd like to get some feedback from other people who might have had a minor MCL sprain.

On a Wednesday night a couple weeks ago, I played volleyball and Friday morning I was lacing up for hockey and noticed a tiny bruise on the inside of my knee. That was the only indication that I had hurt my knee. I went thru my pickup not even thinking about my knee and had no pain/issues during the game. The soreness started the next day.

So again, there was no event of injury and no defining moment for the injury. But on that Saturday, the bruise grew a bit, maybe to the size of a quarter and soreness started to set in.

I'd been seeing a PT about something else so on Tuesday he was able to look at the knee and really didn't see it as a big deal. His evaluation couldn't even elicit any pain until he had me do side shuffling.

From what I've read online, a lot of these minor sprains have ~2 week recovery. And after about the first week, my mobility and stability seemed to be restored. But 17 days in, I'm still feeling a decent about of soreness, most recently from sitting in a car for an extended period of time. My range of moment is fine and was never constrained but quad stretches seem to generate soreness the next day.

I'm back to doing exercise and have been able to do extended sessions (25 mins) on the stationary bike or elliptical without issue, but I do feel some soreness afterwards.

Is this soreness typical? It sort of feels like growing pains. Is it a cause to avoid exercise or something to push thru? Any recommendations on returning to sports? I've bought a hinged knee brace but as much as I hate missing sports that I've paid money for, I really want to be cautious about making a minor injury into a significant one. I'm hoping for a full winter of snowboarding if the winter gods cooperate.

Any info is appreciated.

Lonny Bohonos 10-23-2012 01:03 AM

I had an MCL sprain i got after crashing into the boards feet first back in may.

I think it was a bit more than minor and it took up until about a month ago for the pain to be gone.

I think doing goblet squats helped it out a lot.

But i stayed away from exercise for a good month or two.

coffeebreak 10-23-2012 08:19 AM

MCL sprains are usually graded 1 thru 3. You describe what you thought was a grade 1 injury which usually recovers in a couple of weeks. A grade 3 is a complete tear. A grade 2 is somewhere in between. The problem with a grade 2 is that it can be a small partially tear to a near complete full thickness tear and recovery time is variable. You probably had a grade 2 but on the minor side. It will take more than a couple of weeks to recover. You won't feel any problem on a bike since there is no lateral (side to side) motion of your knee. This is good for rehab. Wearing a hinged brace is a good idea at all times while recovering not just during sports. You probably want to see a doctor to see how loose the ligament is (the doc can tell comparing to your other side the amount of injury). I'm guessing 6-10 weeks for full recovery based on what you describe unless you're very young and heal faster. I am in the recovery phase of an injury now. Good luck

Stickchecked 10-23-2012 07:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by coffeebreak (Post 55211127)
MCL sprains are usually graded 1 thru 3. You describe what you thought was a grade 1 injury which usually recovers in a couple of weeks. A grade 3 is a complete tear. A grade 2 is somewhere in between. The problem with a grade 2 is that it can be a small partially tear to a near complete full thickness tear and recovery time is variable. You probably had a grade 2 but on the minor side. It will take more than a couple of weeks to recover. You won't feel any problem on a bike since there is no lateral (side to side) motion of your knee. This is good for rehab. Wearing a hinged brace is a good idea at all times while recovering not just during sports. You probably want to see a doctor to see how loose the ligament is (the doc can tell comparing to your other side the amount of injury). I'm guessing 6-10 weeks for full recovery based on what you describe unless you're very young and heal faster. I am in the recovery phase of an injury now. Good luck

Not sure what about the description of my injury that leads you to think it's a grade 2/6-10 week injury. I never had any loss of mobility or range of motion, just a sense of instability/pain that went away after about a week. At day 18, I feel like I COULD return to sport tomorrow.

Right now, it's just a sense of soreness and from what I've been able to find online, appears to be a typical experience after scar tissue is laid down.

tarheelhockey 10-25-2012 02:25 AM

I've sprained both my MCLs.

The soreness does indeed take a long time to go away completely. You're right about sitting in a car -- something about it brings out the soreness. So does skating, unfortunately.

I would suggest starting with some light skating, public session type exertion, and give it 24 hours to see what kind of pain manifests. If it seems manageable, go to a stick and puck and do some more diverse and hockey-like activity. Then a pick up session, where you can manage your own ice time and walk away if necessary. That gives you another week of recovery, and a good idea of whether the injury is likely to be aggravated in a full-speed game situation.

You're right about not turning a minor injury into a major one. I know how much it sucks to sit out, but a torn ligament can really put you on the shelf long-term. It's worth being cautious with knee issues.

Gino 14 10-25-2012 06:04 AM

If it's really that much of an area of concern then you need to see a doctor.

Stickchecked 10-25-2012 09:37 PM

Saw my physio today. He loves the knee brace I bought, which is nice to know I got a deal. But in general, he's completely unconcerned about the knee. I really think it was a very minor injury and it feels really strong and stable now. I just have some quad soreness issues.

Something to note, he mentioned that he's dealing with/just got over dealing with an MCL injury of his own. So that makes me feel comfortable he's pretty in tune with the nature of the injury.

Having said all that, he really put me through the ringer with the core exercises today and my knee was pretty sore afterwards. But again, mostly lower quads. He said it's just the tiny stabilizer muscles overcompensating and to just make sure they recover between workouts.

One other thing of note: He turned me onto using a rolling pin to massage the legs. For the quads especially, it's much more comfortable than trying to use a foam roller. We have a big heavy duty one and it feels great. Definitely worth giving a try.

xdl1 10-26-2012 08:25 AM

I'm dealing with the exact same scenario to the word, but with my right ACL as of last Sunday. I didn't even know I did anything wrong until I got through with my drive home from the rink, and sure enough the bruising, soreness and pain came through for a few days. Now it's just discomfort and post-exercise soreness.

I was going to wrap it and hit the ice for just some light trips around the public skate, but I may shelf the idea for a week or two given the experiences in here.

Stickchecked 10-27-2012 05:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by xdl1 (Post 55294653)
I'm dealing with the exact same scenario to the word, but with my right ACL as of last Sunday. I didn't even know I did anything wrong until I got through with my drive home from the rink, and sure enough the bruising, soreness and pain came through for a few days. Now it's just discomfort and post-exercise soreness.

I was going to wrap it and hit the ice for just some light trips around the public skate, but I may shelf the idea for a week or two given the experiences in here.

Take it back slow. My PT actually reinjured my MCL with some of the exercises he had me do at my appointment. I initially went to him for groin issues, the MCL injury happened after our first appt, but he's really minimized the knee in favor of working on my core strength. I think it was sumo squats that did in my knee.

Two days since the appt and my knee/MCL is in a lot of pain and feels like it's back to square one. My knee felt perfect the day before seeing him and I was planning to start doing moderate lateral exercises to test/strengthen the knee before returning to sport. So demoralizing.


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