Background: The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is one of the most frequently injured ligaments in the knee. The purpose of this case report is to describe conservative management of a 13 year-old soccer player with a one year history of untreated intermittent bilateral anterior knee pain who sustained a grade II MCL sprain while playing soccer and returned to competitive play within four weeks. The use of patellar taping as an adjunct to treatment will be introduced.
Case description: Based on the physical examination findings, the patient's injury was classified as a grade II MCL sprain. The patient was treated successfully with a combination of modalities, manual therapy, and therapeutic exercise. Specifically, patellar taping was added to the traditional physical therapy regimen. Pain scale ratings, strength assessment, and a variety of functional outcome assessment tools were used to determine progression and outcomes.
Outcomes: Following one session of modalities, manual therapy, patellar taping, and education in a home exercise program (HEP), the patient reported decreased overall left knee pain and increased comfort with knee active range of motion (AROM). Throughout the four weeks of treatment, the patient was compliant with the HEP. During this time, the patient continued to demonstrate improvement in pain, strength, AROM, and functional activities. Upon discharge, the patient was cleared for full return to sports.
Discussion: The novel intervention in this case report was the taping of the patella medially. This patient returned to sports two weeks earlier than the average athlete with a grade II MCL sprain.