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Resources & Support Orthopedics

MCL Tear
Resources & Support

At UCSF Health, we are renowned for our highly specialized and cutting-edge medical care. Along with innovative medicine, we strive to provide a variety of services to ensure that patients and families are fully supported while in our care. UCSF has a team of experienced social workers and condition-specific support groups as well as classes to help patients and families navigate their experiences while in our clinics and hospitals. 

Our support services also include unique programs to help heal the mind and spirit, such as Art for Recovery, Healing Through Dance and complimentary spa treatments during infusion therapy. During an unfamiliar and stressful time, UCSF’s support services are ready to lend a hand whenever patients and families need it most.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When can I shower after surgery?

    You should keep your dressing on and knee dry until your first post-op visit, at which point you'll likely be cleared to shower. But don't submerge your knee in a bathtub or swimming pool until three to four weeks have passed since your surgery.

  • Will I have stitches?

    You'll have stitches along the inside of the knee. They'll be covered by a bandage and removed at your first post-op appointment, one to two weeks after surgery.

  • When should I expect a follow-up appointment?

    You'll have a scheduled visit one to two weeks after surgery. It will include a knee exam, suture removal and X-rays.

  • When should I start physical therapy?

    You should start as soon as possible after surgery. Patients generally begin a program within the first one to two weeks, often right after the first post-op appointment.

  • How long will I be on crutches?

    Most likely, you'll use crutches for about six weeks, depending on which other structures were repaired in your knee.

  • Are cold therapy machines best for pain relief?

    Simple icing methods, such as placing a regular ice pack or a package of frozen vegetables on your knee (on top of the bandages) work well. Cold therapy units, which work by recirculating ice water through a pad over your knee, are also effective, though somewhat expensive.

  • When can I return to school or work after MCL surgery?

    Most patients return to school or desk work five to seven days after surgery. If you're able to work from home, your initial recovery may be easier. If you have a physically demanding job, you may need more time for a safe recovery and medical clearance before returning to work.

  • When can I drive after MCL surgery?

    That depends on which leg had surgery. If it was your left knee and you drive an automatic car, you can get behind the wheel once you're no longer taking narcotic pain medication and feel capable of driving safely. If it was your right knee, you'll probably need to wait six weeks; your surgeon can advise you.

Support services at UCSF Health

Patient Resource

Case Management & Social Work

Connect with a team that can help you find resources, solve problems and advocate for you during treatment at UCSF.


Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Class

This eight-week class teaches mindfulness practices that can reduce stress and improve your overall health, such as meditation and body awareness.

Patient Resource

Patient Relations

We welcome feedback about your experience at UCSF Health. Find out how to contact us with comments, questions or concerns.

Patient Resource

Spiritual Care Services

Chaplains representing many faiths are available around the clock to provide support, comfort and counsel to patients, families and caregivers.