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Injuries and Medical Advice

MCL Injury

About two weeks ago I slammed the inside of my right knee into a wall while bouldering at the gym. Since then, every time I kneel, it feels like something is tearing on the inside of the knee joint.

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About two weeks ago I slammed the inside of my right knee into a wall while bouldering at the gym. Since then, every time I kneel, it feels like something is tearing on the inside of the knee joint. I feel fine when I climb, run, bike or do any other activity—only kneeling hurts. My housemate thinks it is a partially torn MCL and I should not do anything for a month. Are these telltale signs of a partially torn MCL?

—Cfhughs, via rockandice.com

Did you vomit? I would have. Banging the joint line of the knee is almost as nauseating as listening to Rick Santorum’s opinions.

Certainly it sounds like you have damaged the MCL insertion by way of impact. Had you just bruised the bony rim, either the tibia or the femur, flexion
shouldn’t cause excessive pain. The MCL is under tension whenever the joint is taken to extremes of range.

[Also Read Injuries: Avulsion Fracture]

Without actually assessing the joint and damage, I’d find it hard to give you a timeline, though I would think a month enough time for the damage to heal
and summit Everest via the Escalator Route (I am not sure of its real name, but this one will do). Most mild MCL strains will be 90 percent better
within a couple of weeks, and showing a little care while climbing for another week or two should see it through.

If the pain doesn’t settle, which I’m 99 percent sure it will, you may have done some damage to internal ligaments or cartilage, or possibly even chipped
the bone. Procure yourself an MRI.



This article appeared in Rock and Ice 204 (September 2012).