Returning to sports after MCL injury

by Jeannie

My 13 year old son injured his MCL during a soccer game 4 1/2 months ago. He was in severe pain (unrelieved by morphine)and unable to walk after the injury. Urgent care put him in an immobilizing brace and he spent the next two days on the couch still unable to move without severe pain (on vicodin). At a followup appointment with a family doctor, he was diagnosed with an "MCL sprain" and told to use crutches for the next 4-6 weeks. He was able to put a little weight on the knee after 4 weeks, but needed the crutches for the full 6 weeks. At that point, he went to PT for a month, and then began a twice-weekly knee workout class to build up the strength in his leg. He says the knee no longer feels unstable and is at about 85%, but when he tries light jogging it starts hurting right away--not a lot, but it does hurt. He is supposed to start spring baseball practice within the next couple of weeks. The PT wants him to see a sports medicine doctor for further evaluation. I'm waiting for his doctor to get back from vacation so we can get the referral, but in the meantime I'd like to hear your opinion on what could be going on and whether we should even consider having him play baseball this spring.

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