COLLATERAL LIGAMENT CARE GUIDE
Physiobot. Joint pain questions, meet answers.
Additional information regarding Collateral Ligament sprains is available here.
If you feel this is potentially a collateral ligament injury, we highly recommend consulting with a licensed clinician. To find a doctor or PT who accepts your insurance, our Physiobot Care Access Specialist is now available. Telehealth offered in select situations.
PROTECT THE LIGAMENT
Our main objective for collateral ligament sprain recovery is simple - minimize strain on the ligaments. This allows inflammation to settle down and healing to begin.
With that in mind, minimize activities that exacerbate your pain (running, squats etc.) Basically, if it hurts - back off. That doesn't mean to stop moving altogether. Short, frequent walks on flat ground should be performed as tolerated to promote knee mobility and function.
ICE OR HEAT
If you notice swelling, go with ice instead of hot packs. This is particularly important in the first 48-72 hours after the injury occurred. This will help soothe the inflammation, reduce stiffness and promote healing. You can learn more about correct icing techniques on our Icing Instructional Guide.
Also begin a targeted exercise program. Make sure you address strength, range-of-motion and flexibility.
Luckily you don't have to figure out which exercises to perform, our PT's have done it for you!
Try to do your exercises a few times a day. You can cycle down as the pain diminishes.
WHAT TO EXPECT
If it is a mild injury then you should see significant improvement within just a few days.
BACK IN ACTION
Once the pain diminishes, slowly ease back into your normal daily and athletic activities. Let pain be your guide. If it hurts, back off!
A WORD OF CAUTION
To be clear, if the ligament(s) are injured beyond a certain extent, full recovery may require surgery.
COLLATERAL LIGAMENT BRACES
The evidence on knee braces is mixed and should not replace exercises. That said, many individuals report significant pain relief when utilizing a knee brace, particularly in the immediate period after a sprain. For additional guidance, please view our Knee Brace Review page.
NOT IMPROVING FAST ENOUGH?
Connecting with a joint care professional is the logical next step. Many individuals find this a bit daunting and delay care. But it is important to keep in mind that, generally speaking, the earlier treatment is initiated the more likely you are to experience a full recovery.
JOINT ACCESS + YOUR INSURANCE
-- Check with your doctor or physical therapist prior to initiating a new exercise program --