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Conquer the Slopes with Safety: MCL Prevention for Snowboarders

Snowboarding season is on! The days to hit the slopes are here. While you are out there to conquer the slopes, you may be prone to common winter sports injuries such as medial collateral ligament (MCL) tear and this why you have to know what can do to prevent it.

MCL tear does not only keep you from playing but also affects your day-to-day activities. Symptoms may include bruising, pain, stiffness,instability and difficulty walking. Pain heightens when walking downhill or climbing stairs. You may hear a popping sound and have difficulty bearing weight. Severe cases of MCL tear requires rest and proper rehabilitation.

Your medial collateral ligament (MCL) is made up of a band. It runs down from your inner part of the knee and from the thighbone to about six inches to the top of your shinbone. Your MCL works to prevent your leg from over-extending inward during everyday activities and sports. Strong forces outside the knee leads to tear. This can also happen with a lot of quick stops and turns or when your lower legs splay out after slipping on ice. Repeated stress which is common to snowboarders is also likely to wore out the band.

Medial Collateral Ligament tear has three classifications, raging from mild damage to a complete tear. Grade 1 MCL tear happens when a slight stretch torn some fibers on the band. This can heal on its own if the knee is protected for weeks. The healing process of Grade 1 MCL tear shortens if you seek help from a physiotherapist.

Grade 2 MCL tear leads your knee to be slightly unstable. Fibers are partially turn. Activity modification and hinged brace are recommended to help Grade 2 tears. Grade 3 MCL tear is a complete tear of the ligament. The ruptured ligament needs immediate help from physiotherapist the sooner possible time.

When the swelling subsided, you are recommended to begin strengthen exercises to regain your normal range in motion. If you are suffering from MCL tear or know someone who do, here are a few a mobility and strength exercises recommend by Livestrong.com essential for MCL tear recovery.

Knee Bend to Straighten

Lie on your back with your legs extended and your arms at your sides. Slowly bend your injured leg as much as possible without causing pain in your knee. Slowly straighten the leg back out. The movements of this exercise need to be very controlled and deliberate. Any jerking of the knee will cause pain and could further injure your knee. Perform 10 to 20 repetitions.

Quadriceps Contraction

Sit on the floor or a table and place a rolled up towel or a foam roller underneath your injured knee. Lift your heel off of the floor by slowly contracting your quadriceps. Hold the contraction for 10 seconds before relaxing your muscles. Rest for three to five seconds and then repeat the movement. Perform this exercise 10 to 20 times.

Hamstring Hold

Stand next to a wall or counter that you can use for support. Lift the heel of your injured leg toward your butt by bending the knee as much as you can without causing pain. Hold the contraction for 10 seconds and then slowly straighten your leg. Perform 10 to 20 repetitions.

Hip Abduction

Stand next to a wall or counter for balance. Transfer your weight to your uninjured leg. Slowly lift your injured leg out to the side as far as possible without causing pain. Slowly bring it back down. Complete three sets of eight to 12 repetitions. Once you have regained some strength and stability in your knee you can use a resistance band or ankle weights to increase the difficulty and further improve your knee.

Leg Extension

Perform this exercise only after you have regained some stability and strength in your knee. Sit on a chair or table with your knees bent so that your legs can hang freely. Contract your quadriceps to slowly straighten your injured leg. Slowly lower it back down. Complete three sets of 10 to 20 repetitions. Once you can comfortably complete this exercise without pain or discomfort, a resistance band or ankle weights can be added to make it a more challenging exercise.

Leg Curl

Perform this exercise only after you have regained some stability and strength in your knee. Attach one end of a resistance band around the ankle of your injured leg and the other to a sturdy object. Lie on your stomach with your legs extended. Slowly bend your injured knee to gently pull your heel toward your butt as far as you comfortably can. With control, lower your leg back down. Perform three sets of 10 to 20 repetitions.

Get the right help

MCL tear can become chronic. While Grade 1 MCL tear may be able to heal on its own, when the root cause is not properly treated it is bound to come back. MCL tears at whatever level, needs help from qualified clinicians who can address the source of the ruptures. This is why it is advised to seek help from a physiotherapy.

Physiotherapy aims to help snowboarders to get back to movement. The range in motion is improve through a customized rehabilitative program. The program may include gentle, motion focus movements on the knee joint and the leg. Then there will be progressive and active stretches and exercises that one can do at home. The rehabilitative program will also include strength and balancing routines. Home recovery goals are created so the person can get back to movement safely and fast.

pt Health Sturgeon Valley have helped snowboarders, skiers and winter sports enthusiast to keep on top shape and peak health for many years. You can contact us for a no obligation appointment and we can help you or your loved to make the most of winters without having to endure sports-related pain.

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