Nate Berkus and Ty Pennington to pay Oilers Taylor Hall a visit during MCL rehab

I know you are pretty clever (and obviously good looking) so you already know that I am a huge NFL fan. But I’m still a true Canadian at heart and that means that I eat poutine, know how to skate, hold doors open for strangers, choose Timmy’s over Starbucks, and – of course – watch hockey! Growing up in Edmonton, I was branded an Oilers fan since my days in the womb. Yes, I am highly aware that they are somewhat painful to cheer for but I’m not jumping off the bandwagon any time soon!

Attention fellow Oiler supporters! Come here find out about the latest injury to ravage this poor team. Today, I’m going to highlight Taylor Hall’s knee injury from a few days ago against the Vancouver Canucks. Here’s a quick replay of that:

A_WBJ_LCL_MCLYou can see on the video that Hall’s right knee collides with the goal post as he crashes the net. The high velocity impact on the outside of his right knee puts excessive strain on the inside of his knee (as shown on the right). This is the classic mechanism of injury for a medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprain. The MCL is found along the inside of your knee and its job is to stop the knee from caving inward. But with enough force (like colliding with Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 6.33.52 PMa goal post), some or all of the ligament fibres can tear. It’s definitely favourable to possess full, healthy knee ligaments as they provide a lot of stability to our joint.

Unfortunately, I was unable to break into the Oilers locker room on Saturday night to examine Hall’s injury myself. Trust me, I tried my best,  all in sake for helping you learn about injuries! The word on the street is that Hall will be out 2-4 weeks which usually translates to a partial tear of the MCL. Full thickness (complete) tears require 6-8 weeks before return to activity. The larger a tear, the longer it takes to heal. Typical ligament healing timeline looks like this:

Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 6.41.32 PMLet’s compare ligament healing to a house renovation. As the timeline indicates, inflammation occurs for the first 3-5 days. The chemicals involved in this phase are like famous interior designer, Nate Berkus. Nate goes into the house (aka the knee), tears down what is broken (aka damaged ligament fibres), and lays down the blueprint for the reno. Once Nate finishes his job, the repair phase begins. So along comes famous carpenter, Ty Pennington. Using Nate’s blueprint, Ty starts hammering in wood planks (aka new ligament fibers) to establish the frame of the new house. This repair phase usually takes 1-3 weeks. Now that the frame is up, Ty packs up his toolbox which signals the start of the remodeling phase. Here’s when that famous New York construction crew comes to wrap things up. These guys work tirelessly (except for lunch breaks on beams) for up to an entire year putting the finishing touches on the renovation. Now you have a brand new house and a fixed ligament! Win-win!

Wait a minute, did you say those construction guys are going to hang around up to a year?! Yes, so I hope you’re feeding them well! It takes up to one whole year for an injured ligament to fully regain its tensile strength. That means Hall’s MCL will be slightly looser than normal within this time period. But this is when physio comes to the rescue! The strengthening and balancing exercises given to Hall will provide his knee with an extra boost of stability while that ligament sorts itself out. With this type of injury, exercises are truly the golden ticket!

We should see Hall back in a few weeks with the same jump in his step. And, let’s be honest, we are all aware that the Oilers need his help!

– Chris

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