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  1. #1
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    Why can't I straighten my leg? (post MCL strain)

    So I strained my MCL pretty good 2 weeks ago. It was reasonably traumatised after a long hike and ski out of the backcountry. It's been 2 weeks of couch siting, at 1st I could only straighten it to about 110 degrees, now it's about 160 degrees straight, but I can't get it further. it's been like that for a while too. It hurts a little trying, but more concerning is that it feels like it'll "pop" and burst apart. Anyone had experience with MCL injuries and had this happen? Is it normal? Will it explode disaterously if I ski on it before it's straightenable? Help.

  2. #2
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    Addict:

    Im almost 4 weeks post acl mcl surgery. Went with the allograft.

    to get your leg straight prop it up using towels or anything under you ankle. and let gravity do the work. Also lie on the edge of a table / bed with your quad the edge of table / bed and let gravity do the work here too. Ice ice and more ice to reduce swelling. I couldnt get hyper ext until a few days ago now I have about 50% of my hyper ext back in comparision to my right leg. (the good one) At least I got the ankle off the ground now.

    Vinman is the man to talk to about this stuff to. Im just going off him and my docs
    When asked how it feels to always ski the first line, the guide replied, it's kinda like peeing your pants, everyone knows you did it, but only you know how good it feels!!!!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastCoastPDR
    Addict:
    to get your leg straight prop it up using towels or anything under you ankle. and let gravity do the work. Also lie on the edge of a table / bed with your quad the edge of table / bed and let gravity do the work here too. Ice ice and more ice to reduce swelling. I couldnt get hyper ext until a few days ago now I have about 50% of my hyper ext back in comparision to my right leg. (the good one) At least I got the ankle off the ground now.
    Oh, I've tried that. I've even put it on a milk crate and pushed down with both hands and still nothing. It got better real quick, then static for almost a week. I'm not even a surgery patient and there's not much swelling left. Just puzzled as to why it won't get any straighter. Thanks for your suggestions though, and good luck healing!

  4. #4
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    I had that with my MCL. It takes a while to get the full range back. I found lying on the couch with the leg up on the arm was quite good. You can even watch TV at the same time

    Best speak to a physio first, but you can be quite rough with this in my experience - eg, when lying on the couch as above, bend the leg then straighten it forcefully.
    fur bearing, drunk, prancing eurosnob

  5. #5
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    [QUOTE=Arno]You can even watch TV at the same time QUOTE]


    Man, I've watched sooo much TV of late! Bed-TV-Computer: the golden triangle right now.

  6. #6
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    Sounds like you may also have a meniscal problem/tear. If there is a flap tear and it bends under the bone, you will have difficulty straightening the leg. Have you had an MRI?
    "My policies are based not on some economics theory, but on things I and millions like me were brought up with: an honest day's work for an honest day's pay; live within your means; put by a nest egg for a rainy day; pay your bills on time; support the police." M. Thatcher (RIP)
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  7. #7
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    MRI? Hell no! I'm not some playboy millionaire. I have to ski this weekend so some pain killers and a couple beers'll get it done, by the end of the day it should be straight, right? Right?


    (Please don't say meniscal tear again)

  8. #8
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    Just saw this thread.

    I'm sorry to say meniscus tear is not out of the question here.

    Does it feel like something is actually stuck in the joint? or is it more of a pressure/pain sensation where the MCL is?


    Whatever you do, it would probably be a bad idea to ski on it. Go see an ortho.
    fighting gravity on a daily basis

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  9. #9
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    It's definitely both pressure and an amount of pain, but more discomfort than outright pain. Doesn't really feel like anything's "stuck". I get a tightness/pressure spreading up my inner thigh (feel free to jest here) and very localised medial pain very slightly anterior, and perhaps 1 inch above the joint as I try to extend. I'm 2 weeks post injury, and I had to skin out 30min and ski out 16km (10miles) with heavy pack directly following injury, so there was a fair amount of initial swelling and cramping and a LOT of pain (couldn't walk for 4 days). The injury was the result of a twisting motion similar to a caught edge. I even got it on video! As I said, at 1st I could barely straighten past 90 degrees, in a week it was almost straight, then improvement slowed down. I can, however, now support my weight easily on 1 leg, it feels fairly stable besides obvious MCL sprain, I can squat painlessly until the VERY end when my calf is tight against my hamstring, even rotation is getting easier. It's just the straightening. I was very flexible and fit pre injury and am currently pissed right off at not skiing Regular doctor insists I should still wait it out and not worry too much. I used to oversee some ortho procedures as a consultant biotech scientist back before I was a ski bum and I never want to be on that table! It's becomming very hard to do anything manual with my fingers permanently crossed though....

  10. #10
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    If you still can't straighten it I'd say you need to see an ortho and get an MRI. It just doesn't seem like a strained ligament should result in not being able to extend it fully unless you still have a LOT of swelling, which would also not seem like a really good sign a couple weeks out.

    If you really can't afford to see a specialist or get an MRI (a good ortho can probably diagnose it without an MRI - I've always just had the MRI confirm what the ortho felt in his exam), I'd think your only other option is to stay off of it and hope your range of motion comes back with time, gentle stretching, ice, elevating, etc. Definitely don't ski on it if you can't extend it all the way.
    "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "Wow, what a Ride!"

  11. #11
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    The twisting motion during the injury also makes me thing that the possibility of menscus injury exists. The fact that you can squat deeply is in your favor though as far as meniscus injury goes.

    I'm also thinking the reason you might not be able to straiten the knee is that you could not straiten past 90 for so long. If the ligament started to scar over in that flexed position it could be why you are having so much trouble getting full extension.

    If you can't do the ortho/MRI the only thing I would suggest is some heat treatments(warm bath/hot tub/heat pack) for 15 min or so followed by working on your ROM.

    Ice only after being up on your feet/walking around.
    fighting gravity on a daily basis

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  12. #12
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    Ok, I'm dumb, what's ROM? Yeah, right now MRI/ortho is hard. I'm an Aussie living in Canada, but soon to be in Brasil at the end of the season, so no healthcare and little time. I definitely don't need any motivation for a hot tub, I'm a hot tub addict. Spent some real time there after my rotator cuff injury earlier in the season. When I try to straighten, it's more like the feeling when you stretch a muscle (like hamstring stretches), more a tightness. It doesn't hurt too much until I release the straightening pressure.

    I also thought about the initial lack of movement as a factor. 90 degrees is a long way o come back from, and I'm only about 5 degrees off straight now. I was in ski boots for a good 2hrs post injury, and skiing as well. I remember once cutting through my stomach lining surfing, I sat on the beach for a long time afterwards and cramped and after I was all stitched up it took a while until I could straighten my body out. Not the same thing (muscular) but similar.

  13. #13
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    ROM = range of motion.
    fighting gravity on a daily basis

    WhiteRoom Skis
    Handcrafted in Vermont
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  14. #14
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    right on. Thanks for your help Vinman and everyone else. If it is a meniscal tear, is walking on it for a couple months before seeing an ortho really really bad? I can walk (limp) just fine, feel a little like House MD. But since I'm going to Brasil soon, I can't really get it seen to yet.

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