MCL Sprain : types and recovery timeframe

Patient

Q: How long does it take for and MCL sprain to heal?

Doctor

A:    Depending on the severity of the MCL sprains, each type of sprain will require a different amount of time for a full recovery. Grade I sprains are the least severe and can be fully healed in four to six weeks. Grade II sprains affect more of the MCL and can take two to three months to completely heal. Grade III MCL sprains are the most serious and may need to be repaired with surgery. You can expect to be treating a Grade III MCL sprain for at least three months. If you undergo surgery, it may be up to 12 months before you are able to resume all normal activities. MCL sprains are usually associated with pain on the inside of the knee and a feeling of instability as you walk. This pain may travel down the inside of your leg. You may also have swelling and a decreased range of motion. As with many orthopedic injuries, you should rest the affected area. For MCL sprains, you have to avoid putting weight on the affected leg and ice your knee often throughout the first three days after the sprain occurs. Your doctor may recommend a knee brace to keep your knee joint in a safe, neutral position and prevent further tearing of your MCL. You will also want to elevate your leg as much as you can to help with the swelling. Taking anti-inflammatory medication can help reduce pain. You may also be prescribed a physical therapy program or an exercise plan to strengthen your muscles and help you regain full range of motion.

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