Recovering from LCL Injury: How Physical Therapy Helps

Two people holding knee

The Role of Physical Therapy in LCL Injury Recovery and Prevention


If you’ve recently suffered a lateral collateral ligament (LCL) injury, you may be wondering how physical therapy can help. Physical therapy is a key component in the recovery process for any type of injury and can provide relief from pain while increasing mobility. In this article, we’ll discuss what to expect when attending physical therapy for an LCL injury and how it helps prevent reinjury.

What to Expect at Physical Therapy

When attending physical therapy for an LCL injury, you’ll likely work with a licensed and experienced therapist who will assess your condition and create an individualized treatment plan that meets your needs. Your treatment plan could involve manual therapies such as joint mobilization or myofascial release as well as exercises that are designed to help strengthen and stabilize the affected area. Your physical therapist may also recommend a variety of modalities depending on your diagnosis such as dry needling, ultrasound, or electrical stimulation.

What Types of Exercises Can You Do?

Your physical therapist will develop an individualized exercise program tailored to your specific needs. Some exercises that might be prescribed include:

Quad sets: These involve tensing the thigh muscle (quadriceps) for 10-15 seconds at a time without moving it. This helps strengthen the thigh muscles, improving stability around the knee joint and reducing pain associated with LCL injuries.

Prone leg lifts: Lie on your stomach and slowly lift one leg off the ground, keeping it straight. This exercise helps to strengthen the hamstring muscles and improve stability around the knee joint.

Step-ups: Stand on a step with your feet hip-width apart and drive up through your leg, then slowly lower yourself back down. Repeating this on both legs can help strengthen the quadriceps as well as improve balance and coordination.

How Long Does Recovery Take?

The recovery timeline for an LCL injury varies depending on severity and other factors such as age and overall health. Generally, mild to moderate injuries may take a few weeks to several months of physical therapy before full recovery is achieved. During this time, your physical therapist will work closely with you to monitor progress in order to ensure that the rehabilitation plan is effective and you are able to return to your desired level of activity.

How Physical Therapy Prevents Re-injury?

Physical therapy is an important part of preventing re-injury and improving long-term outcomes for those with LCL injuries. Your physical therapist will teach you proper form and technique while performing exercises in order to ensure that you are properly engaging the right muscles. This can help reduce the risk of further injury by ensuring that your body is functioning optimally. Additionally, they will also provide guidance on how to modify activities or daily tasks in order to reduce strain on the injured knee joint.


Lateral collateral ligament (LCL) injuries can be painful and limiting for those who experience them. Physical therapy plays an important role in the rehabilitation process by providing exercises and activities that can help strengthen the knee joint, improve flexibility and stability, and reduce the risk of re-injury. Working with a physical therapist is essential for ensuring optimal outcomes following an LCL injury.