Phase 1 begins immediately following injury and usually continues for 4 weeks. The aim of phase 1 is to control swelling, be able to fully straighten your knee and bend it to 90 degrees, and begin early-stage strengthening exercises.
- Rest from all painful activities.
- Use crutches if necessary, non-weight bearing to start with, then partial weight bearing from week 2.
- Aim to be walking normally by the end of week 4.
- Wear a hinged or stabilised knee brace to protect the medial ligament.
- Apply cold therapy and compression.
- Apply ice/cold therapy for 15 minutes every 2 hours for the first 2 days and gradually reduce the frequency to 3 times a day over the next week.
- Sports massage (gentle cross frictions) may be possible from day 2 but allow a week for more severe injuries.
- Pain-free stretches for the hamstrings, quads, groin and calf muscles in particular.
- Mobility exercises should be done in the knee brace.
- As pain allows, static quads and hamstring exercises, double leg calf raises, hip abduction and extension.
- Knee extension mobility should only be to 30 degrees though.
- Maintain aerobic fitness on a stationary cycle as soon as pain allows.
This article has been written with reference to the bibliography.