BJJ Knee Injury – How long Will I Be Out With an MCL Tear?

Training has been going well and you finally feel like you’re progressing, but the cruel mistress of fate is just about to ruin it all. Injuries seem to strike us at the most inopportune of times and take us off the mats when we’re getting into our stride.

The MCL tear is a particularly frustrating injury that’s typically caused by some blunt force trauma to the outside of the knee. In BJJ it is likely to occur during a scramble or a mistimed take down attempt. So you’ve tore your MCL and now you’re wondering how long you’ll be out for? Well, the answer is dependent on the what grade tear you receive.

Grade 1 Tear – 1-2 Weeks

You felt the pop and you feared the worst, but the truth is your injury isn’t that bad. Make sure to ice, elevate and rest the joint immediately and don’t rush your body into healing. If you’re safe and smart about it you should be back in 2 weeks. While it might be tempting, don’t try to train through the pain or you could risk a more serious injury.

Grade 2 Tear – 4 Weeks

This injury is a little more serious, but won’t require surgical intervention. Grade 2 tears are probably the most common and should be treated with a lot of caution. Your MCL is on the cusp of a catastrophic injury, so take it easy and follow the RICE protocol. Now is the time to invest in a sport specialist physical therapist or osteopath. A good rehab program is needed but you should be back drilling in 4 weeks.

Grade 3 Tear – 8-12 Weeks

Unlike the dreaded ACL tear, MCL injuries respond really well to non-surgical treatment plans. While a completed MCL tear is a serious injury, it is likely that your doctor will put you in a soft cast and limit movement for a few weeks, but won’t push for surgery. This is when rehab is key and your recovery is dependent on it. Find someone reputable to help you develop a plan to stabilize the joint. With the right help you’ll be training again in 12 weeks.

Looking for help with a BJJ injury? Book an online video consultation with BJJ black belt and osteopath Rosi Sexton.


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