Time Frame for Recovery
Your recovery time will depend on the severity of your MCL injury. Your age, activity level, and overall health will also play a part in how long it takes for you to heal.
Mild or Grade 1 - Mild MCL injuries take between 1-2 weeks to heal. Apply ice and compression to your MCL. Try to avoid any activities that could cause re-injury.
Moderate or Grade 2 - Moderate MCL tears take around 2-6 weeks to heal with conservative treatment.
Severe or Grade 3 - Full tissue tears of the MCL will take about 6-8 weeks to fully heal with the aid of surgery. If your ACL or other tissues in your knee were injured at the same time as the MCL, your healing time will likely be 8-12 weeks.
If Re-Injury Occurs
Re-injury is common when it comes to MCL injuries, as the joint becomes unstable after the initial injury. Symptoms of re-injury might include pain, swelling, and stiffness in the knee. Pain can range from mild discomfort to intense pain. Resting, icing the knee, and using a brace should help put a re-injured MCL back on the track to healing.
Applying compression along with the ice is important when you are experiencing swelling and inflammation. Elevation to take the pressure off the MCL when sitting or lying down will help with inflammation as well as relieve pain.
Wearing a brace for several days is also recommended if your MCL has been re-injured. Braces are designed to limit the movement of the knee joint and surrounding area. Movements such as squatting, bending over, and kneeling should be avoided, as they put strain on the MCL.
Physical therapy is a great way to get optimal blood flow to the area and promote healing in a re-injured MCL. It also helps improve strength and flexibility. Strengthening the muscles around the knee will help prevent re-injury.