MCL Injury | Augusta, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Augusta, 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 suffer an MCL injury? Is it significant? How long will I be sidelines for? Will my knee ever be the same again? At Axes Physical Therapy in Augusta, MO, all of our physical and occupational therapists are committed to getting our patients back to tearing up the filed. While we can’t, we can make your recovery safe and effective through tailored, proven treatment plans. Physical therapy has been shown time and time again to be an essential component of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in Augusta, MO are all licensed and average more than 15 years of individual experience. For treatment plans you know will be effective, call the Axes location most convenient for you you or request an appointment online.
How the MCL Works
MCL stands for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is like a strong, firmly attached rope that connects bone to bone and provides stability. The MCL runs from the inside of your upper shin bone to the inside of your bottoms thigh bone and maintains stability in the inner knee. Its main purpose is to guard against valgus stress, or the knee being forced unnaturally 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 knee from bending inward
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which crosses the ACL inside the knee and controls backward movement
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which runs along the outside of the knee from the thigh bone to the fibula (the smaller bone the small bone behind the tibia) and prevents the knee from being forced too far outward
The knee is known for being one of our most complex joints. It depends on surrounding bone and muscle, and the tendons and ligaments in order to provide stability and function properly. When any knee injury, such as an MCL tear, occurs it can limit or completely restrict your mobility and pursue the activities you love most, or just get around the house pain-free. Certain physical therapy exercises and other treatment modalities, prescribed by a doctor, have been demonstrated through evidence to help those who have suffered an MCL injury mitigate pain and swelling and get back to normal functionality.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
In general, an MCL injury is either a sprain, which stretches the ligament farther than is naturally, 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 MCL injury refers to a sprain, or a tear where less than 10% of the the fibers in your MCL are torn. It’s typically a mild injury, and your knee will still be stable. Your knee will feel tender, and you may also experience soreness.
- Grade 2 — This is a more moderate tear, most commonly to the superficial part 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 — A grade 3 tear is a complete tear, or separation from the bone. Your knee will be significantly unstable. You will likely feel significant 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, our licensed Augusta, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, alongside your physician, implement a comprehensive 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?
Ligament injuries account for 40% of all knee injuries, and the MCL is the most commonly injured ligament. When you suffer a forceful trauma to the outside of your knee, it can push the knee inside far enough that the MCL strains or tears. MCL injuries can also by the knee rotating more than the ligament can support. 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 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 Augusta, MO, you’ll probably notice the pain right away. Other symptoms may include:
- A sudden “pop” on the inside of your knee
- Not being able to put any weight on the knee
- Tenderness where the MCL is located
- Swelling, either where the MCL is located or the whole knee
Sometimes your knee may feel like it’s wobbling when you walk, even if walking doesn’t hurt, or in other cases you’ll barely be able to move the knee. Any time you feel pain or instability in your knee, cease any strenuous activity immediately and seek medical treatment for a diagnosis.
Diagnosing and Treating an MCL Injury in Augusta, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a physical examination. In the examination, your Augusta, MO doctor or physical therapist will go over how the injury occurred, will feel for swelling and how your knee is different from your healthy knee, and perform a valgus stress test.
Most physical therapists or doctors that specialize in mobility of the human body in Augusta, MO will be able 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 take three-dimensional images of your soft tissue
- An ultrasound, which uses sound waves and can help determine how severely the ligament is torn
- 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
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 law requires a prescription for further physical therapy.
How to Treat and MCL Injury in Augusta, MO
The initial treatment of an MCL injury consists of basic first aid: reducing swelling, managing discomfort, and using 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 sufficient for your body to heal itself.
Professional physical therapy is needed for more severe injuries to restore strength and optimal range of motion and get you back to racing down or around the court or field. You’ll also need time resting to allow your body to heal safely. Your Axes physical therapist in Augusta, MO can fit you for a knee brace in order to prevent your knee from bending too far inward while your MCL is still healing. Even with physical therapy, you’ll likely still continue the R.I.C.E. method and anti-inflammatory 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 performed by using a graft, either from your hamstring or from another person, to reconstruct the MCL. You would not have to be hospitalized overnight. If you do require surgery in Augusta, MO, our physical therapists are experts at pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation get you the best possible results from your surgery.
How Can Physical Therapy in Augusta, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
The objective of physical therapy, when dealing with any injury, is to design safe, effective, and evidence-backed treatment methods based on each patient as an individual. Physical therapy slowly and effectively improves strength in the strength in the muscles that power the joint, 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. Depending on you and your injuries, your treatment plan may include:
- To begin, passive movements performed by your physical therapist to help restore normal functionality
- More active exercises and stretches 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 stimulate harder-to-reach tissue
- Blood flow restriction training to help you make greater strength gains while lessening stress on the joint
- Athletic training and sports therapy for those whose main goal is to get back onto the court or field
At Axes Physical Therapy in Augusta, MO, all of our treatment plans are as unique as each patient, and created with the help of your physician, in order to get you the best patient outcome possible and get you back to the activities you love.
Other services we offer in Augusta, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Augusta, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury is scary and anxiety-inducing at first, 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 our clients trust us with their recovery, so we repay that trust with safe and effective treatments that are 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 Augusta, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.