MCL Injury | Argentville, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Argentville, MO. For many athletes and physically active people, it’s easy to fear the worst when you hear that sudden “pop” in your knee: Did I injure my MCL? How bad is the injury? How long will it take to recover? Will my knee ever be the same again? At Axes Physical Therapy in Argentville, MO, we are driven by getting our clients back to sprinting down the court. While we’d like to be able to magically fix your MCL, we can make your recovery safe and effective through personalized, evidence-based treatment plans. Physical therapy has proven to be an integral part of any treatment plan for MCL injuries. Our physical therapists in Argentville, MO are movement health experts. For lasting and meaningful recovery, reach out to the Axes location most convenient for you you or contact us online.
How the MCL Works
MCL an acronym 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 body together. The MCL runs from the inside of your upper shin bone to the inside of your bottoms thigh bone and helps keep your knee stable and moving normally. Its chief purpose is to withstand valgus stress, or the knee being pushed unnaturally towards the other one. It is one of four ligaments in 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 crosses the ACL in the middle of 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 thigh bone to the fibula (the smaller bone between the knee and ankle) and helps keep the outer side of your knee joint stable
The knee is known for being one of our most complex joints. Healthy structure and movement depends on surrounding bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. There are numerous knee injuries that can have tremendous consequences for your mobility and pursue the activities you love most, or just live a pain-free day-to-day life. Specific physical therapy techniques and other treatment modalities, prescribed by a doctor, have been proven to help those who have suffered an MCL injury manage their symptoms and return to optimal functionality.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
Generally speaking, an MCL injury is either a sprain, wherein the MCL extends 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 MCL has been torn. These injuries are typically not especially painful or debilitating, and your knee will still be stable. Symptoms will likely be tenderness and mild pain.
- Grade 2 — This is a more moderate tear, generally to the middle layer of the MCL. Your knee will be slightly unstable, and the knee will likely be loose when manipulated manually. Symptoms of a grade 2 MCL injury generally include much more noticeable pain.
- Grade 3 — This occurs when your MCL is entirely torn, both the fibrous and deep parts. You will retain little to no stability. Pain will be intense and you’ll likely feel several other symptoms. The injury may actually caused by or accompanied by other serious knee injuries such as ACL tears.
Whatever grade MCL injury you have, our expert Argentville, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, along with your doctor, create a comprehensive and customized plan aimed at returning you to the life you’re used to safely.
How Do MCL Injuries Occur?
40% of all knee injuries involve damage to a ligament, and the MCL is the most commonly injured ligament. Most MCL injuries occur due to physical trauma on the outer edge of the knee. MCL injuries can also by the knee rotating too forcefully. They can also take place when landing or excessive bending, such as if a cleat is stuck in grass while you’re moving.
MCL injuries usually occur athletes in contact sports and in athletic events that require a lot of torque being placed on the body such as football, soccer, skiing, basketball, and tennis. They can also occur in people who have to squat and lift heavy objects, either for athletic training or in the course of their employment.
Common Symptoms of MCL Injuries
If you suffer an MCL injury in Argentville, MO, you’ll likely notice the pain right away. Other symptoms may include:
- Hearing or feeling a popping sound or feeling
- Not being able to put any weight on the knee
- Tenderness where the MCL is located
- Inflammation, either of the MCL area or the whole knee
Sometimes your knee may feel like your knee is loose when you walk, even if walking doesn’t hurt, while other times you’ll barely be able to move the knee. If you suspect you may have suffered an MCL injury, do not participate in any more strenuous activity and seek medical treatment for a diagnosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of an MCL Injury in Argentville, MO
MCL injuries are diagnosed in a physical examination. The exam will usually start with a doctor or physical therapist in Argentville, MO asking how the injury occurred. They’ll then bend your knee and apply slight pressure to the outside of it, noting how much pain you are in and whether or not your knee is unstable. They’ll also gently feel for swelling, and may compare your injured knee to the healthy one.
Most physical therapists or physicians that specialize in mobility of the human body in Argentville, MO are qualified to determine if you have an MCL injury with a physical examination. Other tests to check severity or to confirm may include:
- An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), which uses a magnet and computer-generated radio waves to create detailed images of the knee joint
- 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, may be ordered for a severe MCL injury to ensure there are no broken bones
Alternatively, you can visit the Axes location most convenient for you for a complimentary, no-obligation injury screening. While we will be able to diagnose your injury, Missouri law stipulates a prescription for further physical therapy.
Treating an MCL Injury in Argentville, MO
The initial treatment of an MCL injury consists of basic first aid: reducing swelling, easing discomfort, and implementing the R.I.C.E. Method of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. For mild injuries, the R.I.C.E method, over-the-counter pain relievers, and some time with limited activity may be all you need for your body to heal itself.
Professional physical therapy is needed for grade 2 and 3 tears to restore strength and function and get you back to the activities you love. You’ll also need to refrain from rigorous activity for an even longer period. Your Axes physical therapist in Argentville, MO can fit you for a knee brace so that you don’t suffer further injury. 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. The surgery is carried out by using a graft, either from your hamstring or an organ donor, to reconstruct the MCL. The surgery is an outpatient procedure. If you do require surgery in Argentville, MO, our physical therapists are experts at pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation, which ensures that your knee will be healthy enough for the operation, and you’ll build back strength safely after the surgery.
How Do Physical Therapists in Argentville, MO Treat MCL Injuries?
The goal of physical therapy, when dealing with any injury, is to implement safe and evidence-backed exercises, each aimed at helping a specific part of the body regain a specific level or function. Physical therapy slowly and effectively improves strength in the surrounding muscles, flexibility of ligaments and tendons, and range of motion to the knee so you can get back to what you love most and prevent further injury. Depending on you and your injuries, your treatment plan may include:
- At the start, light movements carried about by your physical therapist to help restore normal functionality
- Exercised performed by you later to further develop strength and flexibility
- Exercises with resistant bands, weights, or cardio machines such as a stationary bike
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, which research suggests can 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 lifting lighter loads
- Athletic training and sports therapy for athletes who want to reduce the risk of reinjury
At Axes Physical Therapy in Argentville, MO, all of our treatment plans are as unique as each patient, and created with the help of your physician, in order to deliver you the best client experience and get you back to doing what you love to do most.
Other injuries we help treat in Argentville, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Argentville, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury can be painful and frightening, especially if you’re used to being physically active, but there’s no reason it has to put you on the sideline forever. We know you place a lot of trust in your physical therapists, so the treatment method we plan for you will be safe and backed by evidence. We also strongly believe in patient education so you can stay as healthy and active as possible. For meaningful and lasting recovery from your MCL injury in Argentville, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.