An MCL, or medial collateral ligament, tear is usually caused by excessive twisting and/or a blow to the side of the knee and is accompanied by swelling, instability and severe pain in the inside of the knee. MCL injuries are most common in contact sports such as basketball and football but may also occur gradually as an overuse injury. The University of California San Fransisco Medical Center recommends that once the pain and swelling subside, you should begin rehabilitation that includes exercises to restore strength and normal range of motion to your knee.
Knee Bend to Straighten
Lie on your back with your legs extended and your arms at your sides. Slowly bend your injured leg as much as possible without causing pain in your knee. Slowly straighten the leg back out. The movements of this exercise need to be very controlled and deliberate. Any jerking of the knee will cause pain and could further injure your knee. Perform 10 to 20 repetitions.
Sit on the floor or a table and place a rolled up towel or a foam roller underneath your injured knee. Lift your heel off of the floor by slowly contracting your quadriceps. Hold the contraction for 10 seconds before relaxing your muscles. Rest for three to five seconds and then repeat the movement. Perform this exercise 10 to 20 times.
Stand next to a wall or counter that you can use for support. Lift the heel of your injured leg toward your butt by bending the knee as much as you can without causing pain. Hold the contraction for 10 seconds and then slowly straighten your leg. Perform 10 to 20 repetitions.
Stand next to a wall or counter for balance. Transfer your weight to your uninjured leg. Slowly lift your injured leg out to the side as far as possible without causing pain. Slowly bring it back down. Complete three sets of eight to 12 repetitions. Once you have regained some strength and stability in your knee you can use a resistance band or ankle weights to increase the difficulty and further improve your knee.
Stand next to a wall or counter for balance. Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and then transfer your weight to your uninjured leg. With your injured leg starting in the wide-stance position, use your inner thigh muscles to bring it across your body. Slowly return it to the starting position. Complete three sets of eight to 12 repetitions. Once you have regained some strength and stability in your knee you can use a resistance band or ankle weights to increase the difficulty and further improve your knee.
Perform this exercise only after you have regained some stability and strength in your knee. Sit on a chair or table with your knees bent so that your legs can hang freely. Contract your quadriceps to slowly straighten your injured leg. Slowly lower it back down. Complete three sets of 10 to 20 repetitions. Once you can comfortably complete this exercise without pain or discomfort, a resistance band or ankle weights can be added to make it a more challenging exercise.
Perform this exercise only after you have regained some stability and strength in your knee. Attach one end of a resistance band around the ankle of your injured leg and the other to a sturdy object. Lie on your stomach with your legs extended. Slowly bend your injured knee to gently pull your heel toward your butt as far as you comfortably can. With control, lower your leg back down. Perform three sets of 10 to 20 repetitions.