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Is surgery required for swollen and painful knee after injury?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2008
Answered : 641 Questions
Good afternoon. I have what I believe to be an MCL sprain and would like to have some answers. The accident was a fall on ice, the left knee twisted awkwardly to the outside, producing an immediate sharp pain to the injured knee and difficulty walking, if not impossible to put weight on the affected knee. Pain was moderate afterwards, with minor swelling to the inside of the knee where there is some tenderness. X-rays showed no fracture. Today is day two, and with or without an immobilizer I am able to put 50%-75% of my weight on the injured knee without pain, however walking is only possible with the immobilizer or very slowly without. I don't feel the need to use crutches. I am practicing RICE. The swelling is going down, there is no brushing if only minor, the pain is almost completely gone (with 600mg of ibuprofen) and I am still able to move my knee in all directions, excepting towards the outside. My question is this. Do you feel that I will require surgery to the affected ligaments, and if not , how long should I plan for a full recovery, with PT, which I imagine will be necessary. Thank you. XXXXXXX XXXXXXX
Posted Sat, 1 Mar 2014 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Gaurav Katiyar 2 hours later
Brief Answer: Second degree MCL sprain Detailed Answer: Hi, I have gone through your query. Your symptoms suggests that it is a second degree Medial Collateral Ligament(MCL) sprain. A second degree sprain is damage to a more extensive number of ligament fibers, but the ligament remains intact. In the case of a second degree sprain, the pain is more severe when touched and when the ligament is stressed. There will usually be a swelling of the knee joint, but this may take 24 hours to appear. It is good to hear that you are following PRICE(Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) protocol for the recovery. And you will not require Surgery. For your MCL sprain, the rehabilitation period will be between 6 and 8 weeks. Rehabilitation under the supervision of a PT is desirable to prevent a recurrence of the injury. Hope I have answered your query. If you have any further questions I will be happy to help.
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