Science of MCL Injury in Golf

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Tiger Woods missed playing in the Wells Fargo Championship, due to a knee and Achilles tendon injury that arose while playing at the Masters. He suffered a grade 1 medial collateral ligament injury of the knee and strained his Achilles tendon. The injury occurred while squatting to play a shot from under the Eisenhower tree off of the 17th fairway. The swift momentum of his swing caused him to fall backward while his foot was caught in the pine straw. A medial collateral ligament, MCL, injury, involves the ligament on the medial (the side closest to the body) side of the knee. It occurs with a valgus stress where the ankle moves toward the outside of the body while the knee moves toward the inside of the body. It’s most commonly seen in sports such as soccer or football, where athletes change directions quickly or are hit on the outside of their knees. The injury can be a grade 1 injury (typically a sprain of the ligament), a partial tear (grade 2), or a complete tear (grade 3 injury). Typically a grade 1 MCL sprain involves rest, ice, and possibly wearing a brace to prevent stress on the knee. The brace prevents any stress that could stretch out the ligament as it is healing. Typically a grade 1 sprain heals in 1-4 weeks. They almost never involve surgery. Depending on the sport, sometimes athletes can play through a grade 1 MCL sprain. Golf would be challenging as it involves a lot of twisting & torque around the knee, which makes it more difficult with that injury.  With proper recovery & post injury sports medicine exercises, Tiger has recovered from the injury successfully.  It takes specialized care & specific exercises to faciliate a speedy recovery.