Mobility Exercises for MCL Injuries

Following an injury to the medial ligament it can be difficult to move the knee through its full range of motion. These exercises are designed to help to improve mobility of the knee.

Mobility exercises for a medial ligament sprain of the knee should be carried out as soon as possible as pain allows. Always seek professional advice before beginning any rehabilitation program.

Knee range of motion exercise

Heel slides knee mobilityTo perform this gentle knee range of motion or ROM exercise the athlete lies on their back on a hard surface. The heel is slowly moved up towards the buttocks, as far as is comfortable. Socks can be worn to ensure that the foot slides. After a minute or so, further movement may be possible. A towel or strap wrapped around the ankle can be used to help although this should not be forced in the early stages of if there is any pain.

Play heel slide knee mobility exercise video.

Flexion extension exercises

Knee flexionThis exercise is extremely important not only to improve the mobility of the injured knee but it will also help maintain the strength of the quadriceps and hamstrings in the early stages of rehabilitation. These movements can also help to decrease the swelling surrounding the knee.

Aim to bend and straighten the knee as far as you comfortably can. This can be done in sitting, standing or lying on your front. Aim for 3 sets of 10-20 repetitions 3 times a day as pain allows. Progress this exercise to holding the leg in place at the end of possible range, both in flexion and extension. This will aid in strengthening the muscles. Further details of strengthening exercises can be found in medial ligament strengthening.

Passive physiological movements

A number if other methods to increase flexibility can be also used. These can be performed by trained therapists to aid flexibility of the joint.

Passive physiological movements are a set of movements which follow the body's normal movement patterns. They can be used to regain range of movement and decrease pain. A therapist moves the affected limb through the pain free range and sometimes into the painful range. In doing so they can feel the quality of movement and assess where restrictions occur. In addition, gentle graded oscillations at the end of range can be performed to increase the range of mobility.

Passive accessory movements

This treatment modality involves moving the joint into positions that cannot be attained by muscular contractions. In doing so, the therapist passively stretches certain soft tissue structures that may cause restricted movements. These are normally performed in an oscillatory manner which, as with passive physiological movements, can be graded according to the therapists wishes.