Olympic Injury Report: Heidi Kloser

By Jeffery D. Harrison, MD

American moguls hopeful Heidi Kloser suffered a knee injury during a training run at the Olympics in Sochi, Russia earlier this week. Unfortunately that eliminates her from competition, but what does recovery look like for this type of injury?

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Earlier this week, American moguls hopeful Heidi Kloser suffered a knee injury during a training run at the Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Unfortunately, this injury damaged the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) in her knee. While Heidi isn’t being treated at Intermountain McKay-Dee Sports Medicine, this post will give you an idea of how this injury typically occurs and the typical treatment for this injury.

About the Injury

ACL and MCL injuries are fairly common knee injuries. They’re typically caused when the knee is forced to an abnormal position and the foot goes to the outside, resulting in a sprain or tear of the MCL and/or ACL. Often times with this type of injury, the MCL can be treated without operating. However, the ACL will require surgical reconstruction. At McKay-Dee Sports Medicine, we often wait seven to ten days to allow the initial trauma of the injury to recover. Depending on the severity of the MCL injury we may postpone surgery for four to six weeks. 

Recovery

It is typical for rehabilitation to be between four and six months. The initial recovery period is focused on allowing the knee to regain its full range of motion and allowing the patient to gain control of their muscles and eliminating stiffness. After ACL surgery, our team will begin immediate muscle activation with the patient performing weight lifts and early knee range of motion exercises.

The first six weeks of recovery are focused on allowing the ACL reconstruction to regain full strength and range of motion. Sometime between three and six months, sport specific activities are reintroduced. These activities begin to train the knee to be able to participate in specific sport related motions. After that period, sport specific drills are added to prepare the patient to fully return to their sport.