Recently, the #ClevelandBrowns wide receiver Rashard Higgins (@callme_wood) suffered a knee injury of the Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL). In light of this unfortunate event, I thought I would share some knowledge regarding the specifics of knee injuries including #prevention and #rehabilitation.
The MCL runs along the inner knee and connects the lower femur (thigh bone) to your upper tibia (shinbone). It provides stability and helps limit outward twisting of the shinbone. If you've ever watched an athlete take a “hit” to the outer knee that pushes the knee inward, you've seen an MCL being injured.
When a force overpowers the MCL’s strength, a tear occurs. The knee now loses stability and the athlete experiences pain. You may see swelling one to two days after the injury. Standing up from a chair can be painful as the ligament gets stressed as the knee bends. Often with tears, athletes feel like "the knee may buckle." In order to prevent this type of injury, you must strengthen this tendon!
THE FIRST SIX WEEKS AFTER INJURY
The knee should be to be protected with a hinged brace for 3 to 6 weeks, depending upon the severity of the injury. Crutches and restricted weight bearing may be needed. Apply ice to control swelling. Elevate the leg and use elastic stockings if the leg is swollen. As the pain lessens and the swelling decreases, try to gradually regain knee motion. Avoid pivoting or twisting the knee because it might be unstable and give out.
At about two or three weeks following injury, the pain is usually subsiding and the swelling is lessened. You can now try to stretch the knee to regain motion. Stationary cycle, swimming (flutter kick only) and the following exercise program are recommended.
STANDING HAMSTRING CURL
STANDING TOE RAISE
STRAIGHT LEG LIFT
SHORT ARC LIFT
HOW TO STAY IN THE GAME
I can’t protect you from game-day hits, but an overall program strengthening the hips and thighs may give that knee some support
One-Leg Wall Slides
For more information, contact The Fitness Doctor!