Abbreviated as MCL, the medial collateral ligament is a crucial structure that helps to support the knee, keeping it mobile but not to the point that it loses stability. This ligament is tough, but it may be subject to tearing if the outer portion of the knee receives hard impact. MCL tears can vary in severity, and the most appropriate torn MCL treatment will depend heavily on the “grade” of the tear: 1, 2 or 3. Let’s go into more detail on common MCL tear treatment options and what can generally be expected when recovering from different grades of this injury.
Torn MCL: Treatment, Recovery Timeline and More
- Grade 1 – Characterized by a partial tear of the ligament, grade 1 MCL tears are the most minor. A patient with this injury may feel slight pressure and discomfort inside the knee, but these symptoms can typically be resolved in around 2-4 weeks with conservative treatments like resting and taking anti-inflammatory medication to manage pain.
- Grade 2 – A grade 2 MCL tear is also an incomplete (partial) tear, but with more severe symptoms than a grade 1 injury. An individual with this moderate type of MCL injury is likely to experience significant pain and swelling as well as knee instability. Thus, recovery may take 4-6 weeks or longer. Symptoms may be managed with medication and physical therapy exercises while the patient wears a knee brace to keep weight off the affected knee and speed healing.
- Grade 3 – A completely torn MCL is classified as grade 3. Surgical MCL repair may be recommended to address symptoms of this injury, which may include trouble bending the knee, difficulty walking and ongoing pain & swelling. An ACL tear is often sustained along with a grade 3 MCL tear, in which case there will be an increased likelihood of surgical treatment being necessary to restore knee functionality.
The most appropriate torn MCL treatment method and resulting rehabilitation time will vary depending on the patient’s particular injury, but individuals with a complete MCL tear should anticipate a 2-6 week recovery.
Resolve Your Knee Issues at Dr. Soffer’s Office
The knee is a complex joint which calls for professional, individualized care. Holding certification from the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery, Dr. Stephen Soffer is highly qualified to treat knee injuries, including all severities of MCL and ACL tears.
As part of his training, Dr. Soffer completed a sports medicine fellowship with Dr. James Andrews, a renowned orthopedic surgeon. If you are experiencing lingering knee discomfort, call our office at 610-375-4949 to schedule an appointment for expert diagnosis and treatment by Dr. Soffer in Berks County, PA.