Has anyone ridden with a MCL tear?

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Has anyone ridden with a MCL tear?

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  • Equine collateral knee ligament
  • Horseback riding after mcl injury

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    08-09-2013, 12:26 AM
Has anyone ridden with a MCL tear?

I ask here because the practitioner usually has no idea about horse-related activities :P

So I went and injured my medial collateral ligament for sure. This is the first day, and though I elevated and iced it, it is still swollen hard and is worse to walk on or bend or raise the knee itself. I read that the treatment will usually be time off from physical activity and weight-bearing of the knee, but should riding be off-limits if I am not really bearing any weight on the leg, and the knee is not moving sideways? Has anyone done that?

Lord, I feel stupid; going to the clinic to get an earful
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    08-09-2013, 07:21 AM
I just went through a total knee replacement (bad conformation if I was a horse I won't pass the vetting ;) ) and am a nurse so I've got some experience here. Yes, riding is a no-no until you get cleared to do it. Ligaments take a long time to heal, 8-12 weeks and any unnecessary strain can make the tear even worse. Let it heal correctly, or you can give yourself a lifelong problem and I would not wish anyone to have to go through the 14 surgeries I have had. Once you injure one knee, sometimes you injure the other due to the added strain and get into a vicious circle of hurting one then the other.

This is a pic of the right knee. The MCL (and LCL) keep the knee stable in lateral motion. The MCL is on the side which contacts the horse so just sitting on a horse would put a strain on it due to the curve of the barrel. My MCL was so bad there before my surgery just hanging my leg in a long stirrup was almost unbearable.

Once you are healed though, riding (posting the trot especially) is a great way to help strengthen the muscles which in turn will help keep the joint stable in future. The only reason my knees have lasted this long is the fact I ride and walk a lot doing my job.
    08-09-2013, 09:42 AM
Oh NO, so I won't be able to do anything with my horse for a matter of months? ARGH. There goes everything we got done the past few months. She was just starting to get a little topline and jump well...
Crud. Crud, crud, crud. I guess the best thing I could do for her is to ask my neighbors if one of them would take her on as a lesson horse? She gets stiff and irritable when not worked for 2+ days, can't imagine what a vacation will do to her.
    08-09-2013, 09:55 AM
Sorry, I know you didn't want to hear that. Well, see what the Drs say about how badly you've torn it, they will give you a better idea-if you haven't been to see them why do you think its the MCL or did I miss something? But there are other things you can do...perhaps groundwork? Cavelettis and lunging?
    08-09-2013, 05:13 PM
Originally Posted by DimSum    
Sorry, I know you didn't want to hear that. Well, see what the Drs say about how badly you've torn it, they will give you a better idea-if you haven't been to see them why do you think its the MCL or did I miss something? But there are other things you can do...perhaps groundwork? Cavelettis and lunging?
Just the way it happened and how I it is being, I'm 99% sure it was a ligament issue right after it happened, and afterward, knowing that I've broken bones before but this did not feel like a broken bone, yet it hurt, swelled, and is very instable. I went to get X-rays today to make sure nothing is wrong with the bones involved or that the joint popped out. The x-rays came back good, but they don't really do serious ligament injuries there and only poked and pushed it to see where it hurt precisely. Told me to rest and go get an MRI after a week if it's still causing an issue...

I don't think I should wait a whole week with a possible sprain to get an MRI... Something's seriously wrong when I can't walk right without my knee buckling on its own. I couldn't walk at all today until I wrapped it to go to the clinic, and then they gave me a brace to wear because I complained I was having trouble walking. Apparently starting to cry when they poked it wasn't enough to tell them I was having severe pain? Ugh, can't get decent health care unless you go to specialists nowadays All the doc said was that I "probably knocked it" or "bruised it" (there's not even any bruising color there, just a little scrape on the front of my knee, not even the side where it's swelling).

What happened exactly is that I was riding bareback on the side of a fence where the posts are out, not the smooth side. Just doing walking exercises near the barn. My mare started losing straightness so I put my leg on to stop her hindquarters swinging out; she leg-yielded toward the fence too much and the post caught my knee. My knee kept going out and behind while she kept going forward, so that my knee went beyond its range of motion and then snapped back after scraping by the post. It wasn't like an impact injury; there's no bruise, no cut, just the top layer of skin rubbed off from where the post made contact.
    08-09-2013, 05:51 PM
(winces in sympathy) get yourself to a good orthopedist ASAP.
    08-09-2013, 06:00 PM
Green Broke
Oh, just reading what happened makes my knee hurt LOL. I tore my ACL in October. Unfortunately, the ACL does not heal itself, so I need to have surgery to get it fixed. :/ I ended up tearing a couple other ligaments, but luckily not my MCL or meniscus. It was probably 3-4 weeks before I could put full pressure on my leg. When I tried to get up after initially tearing it, my knee popped out of place and down I went. Brace and crutches for 2 weeks, then just a full leg brace for another 3-4 weeks.

It suuuucks. It still does. My knee still threatens to pop out of socket sometimes. It's popped out of place numerous times while I was climbing through a fence, or being pushed by a spooked horse. Horse time is a no-no! My dad forbade me from going in the stalls with them after the horse spooked while I was in there. Definitely no riding. Pretty much, you can only admire your horse from afar. :/ I know it sucks big time. I'm still saving up for surgery. Rest, elevate it, and do some stretches when you can because it will heal stiffly.
    08-09-2013, 06:36 PM
It was eventually determined that I must have torn my MCL after busting my knee and having it misdiagnosed. I couldn't ride without immediate pain for a few years. It was fine them because I didn't have horses of my own. Now I still have pain most times I ride for a decent amount of time.

I would NOT. Go near riding until you get an all clear on its healing or it'll be hell.
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    08-09-2013, 10:53 PM
I read somewhere online that the pain is supposed to go down after 24hrs, which I thought was BS because of the pain I was in this morning where I literally dragged myself out to the barn to dump feed in my mare's bin and change her to the dry paddock + stall. Then, since being out this morning for the X-rays, I've been in bed with my leg up and iced with a break in between. The swelling didn't go down until 35 hours after the incident (still swollen, but less), and the pain did lessen a lot after 24 hours. When I walked short distances to and from the car and in the house with the brace, my knee snapped once and has buckled/locked about a dozen times but I can walk better. I just took the ice off to get up and eat dinner/go to the bathroom, it's still weak and feeling weird, like a pull on the inside of my knee, when I walk but I can look relatively human as long as I don't rush. Been about 15 mins since the ice was off and the area is getting warmer than normal again.

But... I would think it's probably still a good idea to have the ligament looked at correctly. Sucks to need my family to drive me, they have their hands full with my sibling much worse than me laid up after the car crash.

So it doesn't matter about the pain, but if my knee is still weak I should go to the ortho this weekend? Talked to a friend who worked as a knee surgery assistant and she said I oughta go soon, or I could have loss of function or pain there permanently. Don't wanna take any chances with that!
    08-10-2013, 12:34 AM
Originally Posted by TerciopeladoCaballo    
Talked to a friend who worked as a knee surgery assistant and she said I oughta go soon, or I could have loss of function or pain there permanently. Don't wanna take any chances with that!
That's me. I busted my knee and thought I just hurt it, so I wrapped it for a few days. Took it off after the third day and fell down in pain. Went to the ER because it was late evening and was told I sprained it and given a cheap neoprene sleeve and some painkillers and muscle relaxers.

Still killed me constantly for a year and a half and I wore a large brace daily for over 2 years. Went to the doctor several times and was basically looked at as a teenager (I was 16-17 at the time) looking for painkillers. Finally, one doctor who wasn't my normal one looked at it while I was in for bronchitis and figured I torn my MCL or meniscus from where it hurt.

It twists out of place (it's gross) so the torqued position riding puts it in is what causes me pain. I can also predict precipitation, particularly snow, very well though the way it swells.

I deal with it with different compression sleeves ad iburprofen. I'm 21 now and would love a new knee. :/

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