I’m not fully satisfied with the physio’s diagnosis of an MCL sprain. I have been Googling (always dangerous), and I have discovered:
1. MCL sprains are usually accompanied by instability. He specifically tested the stability and said it was fine.
2. Minor sprains should clear up in a few weeks. Mine can’t be anything more than minor because of the lack of excruciating pain, and #1. I’ve been experiencing very sporadic minor discomfort and pain since about November, in which time I’ve had a two week and a one and a half week rest period. I think that should have cleared up on its own if it was a minor sprain.
3. MCL sprains are usually the result of trauma to the outside of the knee which pushes the femur and tibia apart on the inner side, or twisting, thus stretching the ligament. I’ve certainly not had trauma like that, and I haven’t been aware of any unusual twisting.
4. The main reason he went with the MCL sprain is because he found tenderness to pressure on the inside of my knee when my leg was straight. It was a kind of “I don’t know, but here’s something so let’s go with that”.
My Google based research suggests that something called Pes Anserine Tendonitis is often misdiagnosed as an MCL sprain. The tendons in question are the thick wad of tendons that run down your inner thigh, across the side of your knee, and insert on your shin. It looks like when your leg is straight, they run over the top of your MCL.
This is interesting to me because the fact they run from the shin over the inner knee corresponds with roughly where I get most of my discomfort. I also think I get discomfort above the knee, which so far, doesn’t seem to fit from what I have read, but I’m not totally put off by that because those tendons carry on up in that direction. I don’t know if the nature of it coming on a few days after running fits, but it being quite stubborn and triggered by overuse does.
I seem to fit with the risk factors, from what I’ve read:
Overuse via sudden increases – well, guilty
Tight and weak hamstrings – tight yes, weak probably, they are always the first things to ache.
Tight quads – YES, in fact, they have really seized up in the last few days.
Over pronation – Well, okay, not every risk factor.
If it hasn’t settled by next weekend I will go back to my GP and ask about this.
It is frustrating to take time off because of this because although a short rest is probably good, losing muscle strength is really not going to help.
Update: A few sets of single leg deadlifts later and I am definitely feeling some twinges on the part of my shin where these tendons insert. The power of suggestion, or…?