MCL Sprain



2 -12 wks

Medial meniscal tear

What is an MCL sprain?

The MCL is a ligament on the inside of the knee. A sprain/strain/tear of it can be very painful and make the knee unstable if enough damage is done. Ligaments are like rubber bands and like all ligament injuries it can be graded from 1-3 (although the grading system is not an exact science!). A grade 3 is a full thickness tear (rubber band is torn) and a grade 1 is only a mild sprain. Grade 2 is somewhere in between.

Why do MCL sprains happen?

The ligament gives you stability on the inside of your knee. It stops the bottom part of your leg going out relative to the top part. So it’s a common injury in contact sport: Soccer, AFL, Rugby League, Ice hockey etc. A good example is a tackle in AFL that hits the outside of the knee and causes the inside to be pushed inwards.

What can you do about an MCL sprain?
MCL Physiotherapy in Newcastle.

Anything above a Grade 1 probably needs a brace. Some physios advocate for keeping it ‘locked’ so it doesn’t fully straighten or bend and if the injury is more serious – this can be helpful (although annoying). Mainly because it helps the ligament heal better. A low grade might do ok with some strapping and taking it easy. Avoiding crutches is preferable but again, the high grades sometimes need some time off the leg. Then get to the physio. Stat. Need to get you moving the knee and avoid the muscles getting too weak (atrophy).

How long will an MCL sprain take?

Most Grade 1s will take 4-6 wks, Grade 2s can be anything up to 6-8 wks, Grade 3 – could be 3 months. It’s hard to be too exact because theres a bunch of variance between people.


Get an MRI. Sometimes knowing what grade the injury is can really help with your expectations. Helps your brain to know roughly how long. Most of these injuries don’t need surgery but sometimes the MCL is injured AND something else – and its good to know. Knowledge is power and all ‘that’.

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If pain persists, you may require the help of a professional physio. Contact Brightside Physio to make an appointment.


Brightside Physio
90 Elder St
Lambton (Newcastle)
NSW 2299

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15 Lambton Rd
Broadmeadow (Newcastle)
NSW 2292



Find parking via De Vitre Street and walk down side alley to Elder Street entrance.



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