So last Saturday I sprained my MCL in a game. My foot got caught inverted along the boards and when I turned my body... my leg didn't follow me.
I went to the ER, had x-rays, no bones broken. The PA I saw said it was most likely a grade 2 sprain. Though she didn't sound very sure and also made sure to let me know that if I tore the ligament, it wouldn't have shown on an x-ray. I was given a knee immobilizer and I can limp around okay with that on now, though it still hurts a bit and is still swollen. I was also told it should start to feel better in 7-10 days, but I didn't get a lot of good instructions, just a referral back to my PCP and an orthopedic if I think its necessary.
That was about 6 days ago, and from what I've read this could take 6-8 weeks to heal properly. But at what point do you think I could walk without a brace? This is the first kinda serious injury I've ever had, so I'm not very keen on how to treat this aside from keeping my leg up and using the knee immobilizer and crutches I got.
I sprained my PCL playing ice. Had an inline playoff game 4 days later, doctor said I should play but I did and then the pain went away a few weeks later, till I sprained it again in an inline game, then it went away a few weeks later and then a few montsh after that I was playing pickup outside and i lost traction and sure enough.
I am not an orthopod, just a plain old internal med doc, so take this all with a grain of salt. I've also sprained my MCL multiple times.
The grade II sprain indicates a partial tear. MCL sprains rarely require surgical treatment unless there is damage to other ligaments or cartilage. X-rays will not show ligamental damage; they are only used to rule out any fractures. MCL sprains are usually treated with immobilizer/brace and physical therapy. I would definitely see an orthopedist to get referred to physical therapy. Until then, keep using the immobilizer. Keep your leg elevated as much as possible. Ice for 30 minutes several times per day. From personal experience, I wouldn't try to ditch the immobilizer too quickly.
The shortest time to getting back to the ice I've personally had was about 5 weeks with the assistance of a brace. I wasn't pain free though for at least another 6 weeks. Most of the other times, it's been more like 6-8 before I even tried getting back on the ice.
Oh man, I feel your pain brother. I partially tore my ACL and MCL back in September and I'm still out, but I'm almost ready to come back after 5 months.
How severe is your grade 2 sprain? If possible, go for a MRI and check to see if theres any cartilage / meniscus damage plus it'll tell you how serious it is. Either way, you'll definitely not be playing hockey for the next little while. Focus on rehab exercises to get your range of motion back first. You might also consider seeing a physio to make things easier for when your ligiment is healed since they'll try to help you minimize muscle loss.
As I said, go see an orthopedist. They'll likely be able to tell if you have any other problems. Depending upon your exam, the orthopedist may order an MRI. The need for an MRI can often be evaluated by mechanism of injury and exam. Not all people need an MRI.
You will need to see a physical therapist to help you get back on your skates again. You won't be able to come up with the appropriate exercises on your own. Everyone's physical therapy plan will be a little different depending upon a whole range of individual factors. In general though, you will likely wear the immobilizer for 7-14 days. Therapy will take about 6 weeks (VERY rough estimate). If you are a goaltender, it can take longer due to the valgus stress on the knee. It is likely that you will need a hinged brace upon returning.
I sprained both my MCLs at the same time once, it was not pleasant at all, I could barely walk. Word of advice is to not play on it at all and wait till its healed. It took maybe 6-8 weeks for it to gradually heal. Even still a couple weeks after it felt a little sore from time to time. See a doctor and try and rehab the knee with a physical therapist or something if you can.
Thanks for the support and advice everyone, it means a lot.
I made an appointment with my PCP, who ordered an MRI which I'm getting this coming Monday. I'm going to take the liberty of making my own orthopedic appointment soon as well.
On top of the MCL sprain, I noticed I couldn't flex the anterior muscles of my right thigh. Luckily I work in a doctor's office, and one of the docs there said I tore my Vastus Lateralis muscle. So I'm going to mention that to the MRI people as well.