Recovering from an MCL Injury: The Role of Physical Therapy

Person holding knee with both hands

MCL Injury: How Physical Therapy Helps Enhance Performance and Prevent Reinjury


Have you ever heard of a medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury? It is an injury to the inner part of your knee that typically happens after a sudden twisting motion, like when playing sports. If you’ve experienced an MCL injury, physical therapy can help you recover quickly and safely. In this article, we will explore what physical therapy can do for those with an MCL injury, from what to expect during sessions to how it helps avoid reinjury.

What To Expect At Physical Therapy

Physical therapy for an MCL injury involves a few components that are worth understanding. Your therapist will first assess your injury’s severity by administering range-of-motion tests or imaging scans. Additionally, they will evaluate your physical activity level to determine that your knee has the appropriate degree of strength and stability.

Once a thorough examination has been completed, your therapist will develop a custom plan for you. This custom plan often includes stretching and strengthening exercises, as well as massage table sessions. With the guidance of your therapist and this regimen in place, you should be on the path to a quick and successful recovery.

What Types of Exercises You Might Do

During physical therapy for an MCL injury, you will likely do a variety of exercises to help restore range of motion and strength in your knee. Here are a few examples:

  • Quadriceps stretches: This exercise helps lengthen the muscles in the front of your thigh to relieve tension on the MCL.
  • Strengthening exercises: These exercises may involve using bands or weights to strengthen the muscles around your knee joint, which can help stabilize it.
  • Balance drills: These drills work on improving balance and coordination by having you shift weight onto different parts of your foot while standing on one leg.

How Long Recovery Takes

The amount of time it takes to recover from an MCL injury can vary depending on the severity of your injury. Generally, it can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks for a full recovery, but more severe injuries may require longer. Your therapist will be able to provide you with a better estimate based on your specific situation.

How Physical Therapy Prevents Reinjury

Physical therapy is not only important for recovering from an MCL injury but also for preventing reinjury in the future. Through physical therapy sessions, you can learn how to move and exercise properly so that you don’t risk further damaging your knee joint. Your therapist will also work with you to develop an exercise routine that fits your lifestyle and goals to keep your knee strong and healthy long after your physical therapy sessions end.


Physical therapy can be an important part of recovering from a medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury, as it can help restore range of motion and strength in the knee joint while also preventing future re-injury. If you have suffered an MCL injury, it is important to speak to a physical therapist to determine the best course of treatment for you. With the right therapy plan and exercises, you can make a full recovery and return to your activities quickly and safely.