MCL Injury | Arnold, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Arnold, MO. If someone plays sports or engages in other physical activity, it’s easy to fear the worst when you hear that sudden “pop” in your knee: Did I suffer an MCL injury? Is it significant? How long will it take to recover? Will I ever be able to perform at the same level again? At Axes Physical Therapy in Arnold, MO, all of our physical and occupational therapists are dedicated to getting our patients back to tearing up the filed. While we’d like to be able to make your MCL injury go away, we can help ensure you get back to feeling like yourself with safe, effective treatments. Physical therapy has proven to be an essential part of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in Arnold, MO specialize helping a variety of injuries and conditions in the musculoskeletal system heal. For treatment plans you know will be effective, reach out to the Axes location nearest you or contact us online.
How the MCL Works
MCL stands for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a fibrous of connective tissue that connects bone to bone and provides stability. The MCL connects your upper shin bone to the inner surface of the bottom thigh bone, running along your inner knee, and maintains stability in the inner knee. Its functions to withstand valgus stress, or the knee being pushed too far towards the other one. It combines with three other ligaments to keep the knee stable:
- ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), which runs down the center of your knee and controls rotation and prevents the tibia from sliding too far forward on the femur
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which crosses the ACL in the middle of the knee and prevents excessive posterior translation of the tibia relative to the femur
- 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 provides stability to the outer knee
The knee is one of the largest joints in the human body. Healthy structure and movement depends on surrounding bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. There are countless knee injuries that can limit or completely restrict your mobility and ability to do what you love most, or just get around the house pain-free. Particular physical therapy techniques and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been demonstrated through research and studies to help those who have suffered an MCL injury reduce pain and return to normal mobility.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
Generally speaking, an MCL injury either involves a sprain, which stretches the ligament beyond its normal range of motion, or a tear, where the ligament is either partially or completely torn or separated from the bone. MCL injuries are “graded” in three tiers:
- Grade 1 — A grade 1 sprain or tear means that the ligament has been stretched, and less than 10% of the the fibers in your ligament are torn. These are not generally severe, and your knee largely remains stable. Symptoms will likely be tenderness and some soreness.
- Grade 2 — This injury is when the MCL suffers more significant tearing, generally to the middle layer of the MCL. Your knee will be slightly unstable, and the knee will likely be loose when manipulated manually. Pain is much more severe in a grade 2 MCL injury.
- Grade 3 — A grade 3 tear is a complete tear, or separation from the bone. Your knee will be significantly unstable. You will likely experience intense pain and a wide array of symptoms. Grade 3 MCL injuries often occur alongside other knee injuries such as ACL tears.
Whatever grade MCL injury you have, the team of professional Arnold, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, as a team with your physician, create an extensive plan uniquely made for you and your injuries aimed at returning you to the life you’re used to in a safe and effective manner.
What Causes MCL Injuries?
40% of all knee injuries involve damage to a ligament, and most of the time that ligament is the MCL. People often suffer and MCL injury because of the knee suddenly being forced too far inward. MCL injuries can also occur if the knee is rotated too forcefully. They can also take place when landing or unnatural bending, such as if your foot stays in one place while your leg keeps moving.
MCL injuries are common in athletes in contact sports and in athletic events that require a lot of sudden movement such as football, soccer, skiing, basketball, and tennis. They are also common in those who have to hunch over and lift heavy objects, either for athletic training or in the course of 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 give out
- Inability to bear weight
- Tenderness along the inside of the joint
- Inflammation, either where the MCL is located or the whole knee
Sometimes your knee may feel like your knee is loose when you walk, even if walking doesn’t hurt, or in other cases you’ll barely be able to move the knee. 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 Arnold, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a physical examination. In the examination, your Arnold, 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 doctors that specialize in the musculoskeletal system in Arnold, MO will be able to diagnose an MCL injury with a physical examination. A phsycian may also order the following imaging tests to check the severity of the injury and whether or not you have suffered other damage to the knee:
- An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), which uses a magnet and radio waves to create three-dimensional images of the inside of your knee
- An ultrasound, which uses sound waves and can be helpful in checking the severity of your injury
- An X-ray, which does not show soft tissue, 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 can determine if you have suffered an MCL injury, Missouri Revised Statute §334.506 requires a prescription in order to officially begin physical therapy treatment.
How to Treat and MCL Injury in Arnold, MO
Typically, treating an MCL injury begins with basic first aid: inflammation reduction, 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 a few days or week or two of rest may be all you need to get mostly back to normal.
More significant 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 time of limited activity to allow your body to heal safely. Your Axes physical therapist in Arnold, 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.
Though uncommon, the most severe cases — in which the MCL is completely torn, the injury is accompanied by an ACL tear, or you are not recovering after several weeks of nonsurgical treatment — may require surgery. During the surgery, a surgeon will use a graft, either from one of your other ligaments or an organ donor, to reconstruct the ligament. You would be able to go home the day of the surgery. If you do require surgery in Arnold, MO, our physical therapists will be able to help you with pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation get you the best possible results from your surgery.
How Can Physical Therapy in Arnold, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
For recovering from any injury, a physically therapist will create safe, effective, and evidence-backed treatment methods based on each patient as an individual. These treatments and exercises will, over time, build strength in the strength in the muscles that power the joint, flexibility of ligaments and tendons, and range of motion to the joint in the interest of not only recovery, but injury prevention. A physical therapist may recommend and implement the following practices:
- To begin, passive motions 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 treadmill
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, which studies show 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 weights
- Athletic training and sports therapy for those whose main goal is to get back onto the court or field
At Axes Physical Therapy in Arnold, MO, all of our treatment plans are as unique as each patient, and created alongside your doctor, in order to deliver you the best client experience and get you back to the activities you love.
Other services we offer in Arnold, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Schedule an Appointment With an Axes Physical Therapist in Arnold, 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 the structures of the knee so you can stay as healthy and active as possible. For meaningful and lasting recovery from your MCL injury in Arnold, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.