MCL Injury | All Saints Village, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in All Saints Village, MO. For many people who maintain an active lifestyle, feeling that sudden “pop” in their knee creates a lot of anxiety: Did I injure my MCL? How bad is the injury? How long will I be sidelines for? Will I ever be able to perform at the same level again? At Axes Physical Therapy in All Saints Village, MO, we are driven by positive patient outcomes. While we can’t, we can help ensure you get back to feeling like yourself with safe, evidence-backed treatments. Physical therapy has been shown time and time again to be an essential part of any treatment plan for MCL injuries. Our physical therapists in All Saints Village, MO are all licensed and average more than 15 years of individual experience. For lasting and meaningful recovery, call the Axes location most convenient for you you or contact us online.
How the MCL Works
MCL is an abbreviation for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a tough band of connective tissue that attaches bones to each other and helps hold structures with the musculoskeletal system together. The MCL runs from the inside of your upper shin bone to the inside of your bottoms thigh bone and keeps the knee from moving side to side. Its functions to resist valgus pressure, or the knee being pushed too far inward. It is one of four ligaments that help control the knee, along with the:
- ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), which goes through the middle of your knee and provides rotational stability and prevents the knee from bending inward
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which forms an “X” with the ACL inside the knee and keeps the tibia from sliding back too far
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which runs along the outside of the knee from the femur to the fibula (the smaller bone in the lower leg) and prevents the knee from being pushed too far outward
The knee is one of the largest joints we have. Healthy structure and movement depends on surrounding bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. There are countless knee injuries that can have tremendous consequences for your mobility and compete like you’re used to, or just live a pain-free day-to-day life. Certain physical therapy techniques and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been demonstrated through evidence to help patients manage their symptoms and return to normal functionality.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
In general, an MCL injury is either a sprain, wherein the MCL is stretched beyond its normal limits, or a tear, where the MCL may fray partially or entirely separate from the bone. There are three grades to MCL injuries:
- Grade 1 — A grade 1 MCL injury refers to a sprain, or a tear where less than 10% of the the fibers in your ligament are torn. These are not generally severe, and your knee will still be stable. Symptoms will likely be tenderness and mild pain.
- Grade 2 — This injury is when the MCL suffers more significant tearing, most commonly to the middle layer of the MCL. Your knee will be slightly unstable, and your joint may be loose when manipulated manually. Symptoms of a grade 2 MCL injury generally include much more noticeable pain.
- Grade 3 — A grade 3 tear is a complete tear, or separation from the bone. You will likely feel like your knee’s about to “give out.” You will likely experience intense pain and several other symptoms. Grade 3 MCL injuries often occur alongside other knee injuries such as ACL tears.
Whatever grade MCL injury you have, the team of expert All Saints Village, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, alongside your physician, develop an extensive plan specially made for you and your injuries aimed at returning you to the life you’re used to without incurring further injury.
MCL Injuries: Causes and Symptoms
40% of all knee injuries involve damage to a ligament, and the MCL is the most commonly injured ligament. MCL injuries occur due to the knee suddenly being forced too far inward. MCL injuries can also occur if the knee is rotated more than the ligament can stand. They can also occur because of landing or unnatural bending, such as if a cleat is stuck in grass while your leg keeps moving.
Athletes in contact sports are the most likely to sustain an MCL injury. They are also common in those who lift weights or lift heavy objects at their employment.
Common Symptoms of MCL Injuries
Most people feel pain immediately on the inside of the joint when they experience an MCL sprain or tear. Other symptoms may include:
- A sudden “pop” on the inside of your knee
- Feeling like the may buckle
- Inability to bear weight
- Tenderness along the inside of the joint
- Swelling, either on the inside of the knee or the whole knee
Sometimes you may feel like your knee is “shaky”, or in other cases the knee feels too stiff. If you experience any of the above symptoms, do not participate in any more strenuous activity and seek medical treatment for a diagnosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of an MCL Injury in All Saints Village, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a doctor’s office, urgent care or at a physical therapy center. In the examination, your All Saints Village, MO doctor or physical therapist will go over what led to the injury, will feel for swelling and how your knee is different from your healthy knee, and gently see if your knee is unstanble while bending inward, and your pain level.
Most physical therapists or physicians that specialize in mobility of the human body in All Saints Village, MO are qualified to determine if you have an MCL injury with the above procedures. Other tests to check severity or to confirm may include:
- An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), which uses a magnetic field and computer-generated radio waves to produce three-dimensional images of the inside of your knee
- An ultrasound, which uses sound waves and can help determine the grade of your injury
- An X-ray, which, while it won’t show the MCL or other ligaments, to insure your femur, kneecap, tibia, and fibula have not been broken
Axes Physical Therapy also offers injury screening injury screenings at no cost or obligation to you. While we will be able to diagnose your injury, Missouri law mandates a prescription in order to officially begin physical therapy treatment.
How MCL Injuries are Treated in All Saints Village, MO
The initial treatment of an MCL injury consists of basic first aid: reducing swelling, relieving discomfort, and utilizing the R.I.C.E. Method of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. For sprains or slight tears, the R.I.C.E method, pain and swelling relievers, and some time spent resting may be enough to get mostly back to normal.
Grade 2 or 3 injuries will require professional physical therapy in order truly recover from your MCL injury and get back to the activities you love. You’ll also need to refrain from most physical until your knee is strong again. Your Axes physical therapist in All Saints Village, MO can fit you for a knee brace to give your knee stability while it’s healing. With physical therapy, you’ll still continue icing your knee and taking anti-inflammatory pain medication.
Surgery is typically only needed with severe grade 1 MCL injuries, or if the MCL tear is accompanied by an ACL tear or other damage to the joint. During the surgery, a surgeon will use a graft, either from one of your other ligaments or an organ donor, to reconstruct the MCL. You would be able to go home the day of the surgery. If you do require surgery in All Saints Village, MO, our physical therapists specialize in pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation to make your surgery and recovery as successful as possible.
How Can Physical Therapy in All Saints Village, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
For recovering from any injury, a physically therapist will create safe, targeted, and evidence-backed treatment methods based on each patient’s specific injury and the lifestyle they want to get back to. These treatments and exercises will, over time, build strength in the surrounding muscles, flexibility of ligaments and tendons, and range of motion to the joint so you can get back to what you love most and prevent further injury. A physical therapist may recommend and implement the following practices:
- At the start, light movements carried about by your physical therapist to slowly get the MCL used to normal motion again
- Exercised performed by you later to regain strength
- Exercises with resistant bands, weights, or cardio machines such as treadmill
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, which has been proven to help accelerate knee ligament healing
- Kinesio Taping®, which provides further stability while your body heals and helps control motion
- Trigger point dry needling to further help the body’s natural healing process
- Blood flow restriction training to help you make greater strength gains while lessening stress on the joint
- Athletic training and sports therapy for athletes who want to reduce the risk of reinjury
At Axes Physical Therapy in All Saints Village, MO, all of our treatment plans are designed individually to each patient, proven through peer-reviewed research, and created with the help of your doctor, in order to deliver you the best client experience and get you back to doing what you love to do most.
Other conditions we help treat in All Saints Village, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in All Saints Village, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury is scary and anxiety-inducing at first, especially if you’re an athlete or someone who finds joy in an active lifestyle, but there’s no reason it has to put you on the sideline forever. We know our clients trust us with their recovery, so the treatment method we plan for you will be safe and backed by evidence. As part of our program, we’ll educate you on your injury and how the knee works so you can stay as healthy and active as possible. For meaningful and lasting recovery from your MCL injury in All Saints Village, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.