MCL Injury Recovery

Craig's picture
Craig started the topic in Thursday, 29 Jul 2010 at 2:42am

Hi guys and girls,

I tore 50-75% of my Medial Collateral Ligament surfing tiny 2ft Manly 2 Sunday's ago.

Simply just doing a snap but as I was going through the motions there was a loud bang/pop sound and it felt as if someone had punched me in the knee real hard. Very painful afterwards etc. (I think I was fatigued from surfing 3hrs early in the arvo and then surfing another 2hrs during the late arvo before doing the injury)

So now it's been 2 and a half weeks and I'm walking on it with a slight limp still and without much pain at all. Have been doing some exercises for the last 2 days and the Physio said I will probably be able to start some sidewards running and criss crossing later next week.

I was just wondering what other people's experiences are with this kind of injury and how long it took them to get back in the water, and then get the confidence to push the knee again?

Also did the knee feel as good as it was before or is it always going to feel a little limited?

I'm on schedule to be back in the water in about 3 weeks or so, should I hold off a bit longer, or if it feels strong enough just head out and take it slowly?

Cheers for your replies :)

pete_79's picture
pete_79's picture
pete_79 commented Thursday, 29 Jul 2010 at 5:15am

The only useful advice I could give you is just do EVERYTHING the physio tells you to….

I did mine playing footy quite a few years ago. It was pretty messy; my knee looked like a sideways “S” bend and the knee cap was pushed down and around to the inside a bit.

Believe me it wasn’t much fun getting it all stretched and pushed back in to alignment. It swelled up so big I couldn’t see my knee cap for a couple of weeks. The early stages took me ages to get over, it was a while ago, but from memory there was nearly a week in bed with ice packs, pain killers and anti-inflammatories, then about 2 or 3 weeks on crutches with lots and lots of physio after that.

It was a good year or more before I felt totally 100% confident in it again. That was probably the hardest bit, convincing my brain that my body was fine. But now it doesn’t even enter my mind, hasn’t restricted me in any way for a number of years. The flexibility and strength feel just as good in both knees. I only really notice it on the coldest winter mornings, when sometimes it gets a little stiff.

Don’t worry mate, just follow the professional’s advice, convince yourself that everything is fine and you’ll be rippin into those 2 footers again in no time:)

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Thursday, 29 Jul 2010 at 10:56am

Thanks for the advice and kind words Pete.

Mine was just a tear and nowhere near as traumatic as your injury.

Will give a running update as I keep improving.

It's funny how you seem to injure yourself more in small waves than the bigger stuff ay...

pete_79's picture
pete_79's picture
pete_79 commented Thursday, 29 Jul 2010 at 9:40pm

It's funny how you seem to injure yourself more in small waves than the bigger stuff ay...

By: "craig"

So true....

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Thursday, 29 Jul 2010 at 10:01pm

Craig, you need to strengthen the muscles which stabilise the knee joint, in particular the hamstrings. The best way to do this is get on the bike. Bike riding keeps your leg muscles strong and is an excellent way to prevent the recurrence of knee injuries. Best with the rehab mate.

shanewaterfall's picture
shanewaterfall's picture
shanewaterfall commented Thursday, 29 Jul 2010 at 10:24pm

Hey Craig, I was out of action for 4 years with a busted knee due to a few complacations. I made myself a longboard which i paddled for 2 hours everyday just to keep me sain and my paddle fitness up. Listen to your Physio, ride a bike, and i did a lot of walking and running in water down the beach, that helped heaps. Good luck with it.

pete_79's picture
pete_79's picture
pete_79 commented Thursday, 29 Jul 2010 at 11:11pm

i did a lot of walking and running in water down the beach, that helped heaps.

By: "shanewaterfall"

That is a really good one, no / low impact and the water resistance will help build strength quickly..

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Friday, 30 Jul 2010 at 2:28am

Thanks for the feedback Steve and Shane.

I'm working on the muscle that goes over the top of the MCL where it meets the Femur. Not sure if it's the end of your quads or another muscle.

It's amazing how much size this muscle has lost compared to my left leg. Apparently after trauma the muscle shuts down and after 4 days it nearly disappears. So doing exercises to get that up to size again and then will take on the running and cycling and hopefully swimming.

ryder's picture
ryder's picture
ryder commented Friday, 30 Jul 2010 at 4:52am

If it's your front leg that had the knee injury it probably isn't as critical as if it were your back leg where all the weight, twisting and pivoting occurs.

Whatever you do, take your time. Even in 3 weeks time your knee will still not be 100%.

Take long beach walks in the soft sand. Also, try walking in the water around knee deep to thigh high. With the waves coming in and hitting you diagonally you will feel your knee counteracting the sideways pressure. If it's sore from this then perhaps you are not ready to be jumping back out onto a shortboard.

Confidence comes with time and with every surf you will regain more and more confidence. 6 months out of the water for me (dislocated patella and severely torn MCL) but critical to the recovery was strengthening the leg.

smokeweazel's picture
smokeweazel's picture
smokeweazel commented Friday, 30 Jul 2010 at 11:34pm

at 2 1/2 weeks your probably not ready to be training on an unstable surface like sand. The other posts about strengthening your quads and hammys are spot on, don't forget your calves either as the gastrocs attach above the knee.

you need to work on stability, proprioception and coordination, not just raw strength. Your physio should be able to guide you and integrate training from mini tramp stuff to basic plyometrics.

t6aping can sometimes be useful, not so much for support( generally this lasts only a few minutes as the tape stretches) but more so as a feedback mechanism

good luck with your rehab

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Wednesday, 11 Aug 2010 at 5:43am

Logger,

It looks as if I have recovered fairly well and the injury wasn't as bad as some others on here as well as yours, with my physio giving me the go ahead last Thursday to head out in the water again.

I went for a long-board at Freshy and went well, although it did feel a little weird bailing out on the backside going left.

Sunday I went for a short-board at Curly and it was 3-4ft and breaking fairly quick. The confidence had certainly dropped, not in the size but the thought of stuffing up the drop and tweaking something.

I got about 6 or so waves and the confidence grew with each one and luckily I made every wave, although the knee didn't feel as stable as it did on the long-board as I had to move around a bit more to generate speed.

The thing is, I also went for a kick of the footy on Saturday arvo, running around and jumping for marks etc. and I think i;ve jumped back into everything a little too quick with the quad joining down to my knee becoming sore at stages during the day throughout this week.

So I'm gonna take it a little bit slower now (although I don't think I can resist a short session early tomorrow).

Hopefully it all comes near 100% in the next couple of weeks :)

pete_79's picture
pete_79's picture
pete_79 commented Thursday, 12 Aug 2010 at 4:15am

The thing is, I also went for a kick of the footy on Saturday arvo, running around and jumping for marks etc.

By: "craig"

Your asking for trouble here mate, that sort of stuff can set you back weeks in your rehab.
Only speeking from experence, I did the same thing. When I limped back into the physio with a big baloon knee and told him I'd been kicking the footy he wanted to kick my ass....

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Thursday, 12 Aug 2010 at 5:26am

^^ Pete, mine gave me the all clear for a kick and said even though it may hurt a little during the session it wont do any more damage.

It's not my knee that's sore, it's the quad joining to the knee, so I think I may have overused this muscle when it is still building back up its strength around the knee.

I've kept out of the water this week and it's feeling better. I'm hoping that it may be Ok for a paddle on Saturday or Sunday on the Mal again.

And just to clarify, when I'm talking footy I mean AFL, the best game in the country :p

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Monday, 30 Aug 2010 at 12:52am

Well after 3 weeks on a longboard and a 3 surfs on the shorty over the weekend, I headed out for another surf this morning.

Was feeling great and surfing near what I was before the original injury.

Then gave it a little too much on a simple turn and bang, did my knee again :(

No ligaments this time but looks like a torn miniscus. MRI will show it up..

Should of maybe got an MRI first time to pick up a possible tear when I did the MCL, ah well..

Back to square one :(

ryder's picture
ryder's picture
ryder commented Monday, 30 Aug 2010 at 1:52am

Shit Craig...

Perhaps the lesson to learn here is that you could visit 5 different physio's regarding your knee injury and come out with 5 different answers and ways to treat the injury. Therefore, your own instincts and basic common sense will tell you if it's ready or not.

As I said previously I didn't feel confident getting back into the water until 6 months out and even then I took things very, very easily. Good thing about getting older or recovering from an injury like this is that you don't get the need to belt the lip every wave. Post injury and my surfing has taken a different line. I now flow with the wave and resist attacking it. My turns are smoother and not jagged! And when your mates notice a change for the better well, they'll normally let you know. I'm now enjoying my surfing in the same waves pre-injury than ever before and have a new-found confidence.

After consistantly and preferring to ride longer boards (9ft+) prior to the injury, it's with much joy that for the past 12 months i'm now riding a 7'8" bonzer (Bing Synchronizer); something I haven't ridden that short in probably 10 years while the longer quiver sits out an ever lengthening hiatus. However, i've had to reconsider my limits and boundaries (size/power of waves) but in all honesty i'm not missing many more sessions than I was previously.

I'm 2.5 years past my knee injury and although all is good it still remains weaker than prior to the injury. The muscle wastage alone will take months to regain, not weeks and looking at both knees side-by-side I can still see a notable difference in muscle definition around the knee area.

This time round Craig you might want to sit-out a little longer, otherwise you'll be out for alot longer than just a measily few months with a full knee re-con as i'm sure you know. Chin up, grab yourself a bloody good jigsaw, check-out some alternative surfboards options, walk those beaches and you'll be back better than ever.

surferchica's picture
surferchica's picture
surferchica commented Monday, 30 Aug 2010 at 2:37am

Good to hear it wasn't as bad as you thought... Although I liked your screams!!!

It was one way to get girls to carry you off up the beach... :-)

Wishing you a full and speedy recovery.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Monday, 30 Aug 2010 at 3:19am

Haha, thanks for your help Vanessa! (Hope I remembered your name properly)?

And don't say that about the screams, my room mate who helped me last time will take and run with that :p

Although it wasn't a torn ligament I might need surgery which isn't very good either. But here's hoping it goes all well and I'm back and dropping in again soon ;)

Thanks again!