MCL Injury | Avon, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Avon, 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 I be sidelines for? Will I have to permanently give up the things I love doing? At Axes Physical Therapy in Avon, MO, we are driven by positive patient experiences. 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 aspect of any treatment plan for MCL injuries. Our physical therapists in Avon, 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 contact us online.
How the MCL Works
MCL an acronym for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is like a strong, firmly attached rope that connects bone to bone and helps hold structures with the musculoskeletal system together. 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 pressure, or the knee being forced unnaturally 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 controls forward movement
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which forms an “X” with the ACL inside the knee and controls backward movement
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which attaches the thigh bone to the fibula (the smaller bone in the lower leg) and prevents the knee from being pushed unnaturally outward
The knee is one of the largest joints we have. Healthy structure and movement depends on surrounding bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. When any knee injury, such as an MCL tear, occurs it can limit or completely restrict your mobility and ability to do what you love most, or just complete basic tasks pain-free. Certain physical therapy techniques and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been proven to help patients mitigate pain and swelling and get back to optimal functionality.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
For all intents and purposes, an MCL injury either involves a sprain, which stretches the ligament farther than is naturally, 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. It’s typically a mild injury, and your knee will still be stable. Your knee will feel tender, and you may also experience mild pain.
- Grade 2 — This is more significant tearing, usually to the superficial part of the ligament. You will probably lose some stability in the joint, and your joint may be loose when moved by hand. A grade 2 injury will result in significantly more pain than a grade 2 MCL injury.
- 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 buckle. Pain will be intense and you’ll likely feel a wide array of 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 Avon, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, as a team with your doctor, implement an extensive plan specially made for you and your injuries to get you back to the things you love in a safe and effective manner.
How Do MCL Injuries Occur?
Ligament injuries account for 40% of all knee injuries, 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 support. They can also happen because of landing or unnatural bending, such as if a cleat is stuck in grass while you’re 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
Most MCL injuries are accompanied by immediate, noticeable pain. Other symptoms may include:
- A sudden “pop” on the inside of your knee
- Pain or discomfort when trying to bear weight
- Tenderness along the inside of the joint
- Swelling, either on the inside of the knee or the entire knee joint
Sometimes you may feel a “wobbly” sensation, while other times 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 Avon, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a physical examination. In the examination, your Avon, 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 check for stability.
Most physical therapists or physicians with knowledge of movement health in Avon, MO will be able to determine if you have 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 magnetic field and computer-generated radio waves to produce detailed images of your soft tissue
- An ultrasound, which uses sound waves and can help determine how severely the MCL is torn
- An X-ray, which, while it won’t show the MCL or other ligaments, to insure your femur, patella, tibia, and fibula have not fractured
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 requires that physical therapy be prescribed by a physician.
Treating an MCL Injury in Avon, MO
Typically, treating an MCL injury begins with basic first aid: reducing swelling, relieving 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 to get mostly back to normal.
Grade 2 or 3 tears 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 activity for an even longer period. Your Axes physical therapist in Avon, MO can fit you for a knee brace in order to prevent your knee from becoming more instable while your MCL is still healing. With physical therapy, you’ll still continue icing your knee and taking anti-inflammatory pain medication.
Though rare, the worst grade 1 tears — in which the MCL is completely torn, the injury is accompanied by an ACL tear, or nonsurgical treatment just isn’t working — may require surgery. During the surgery, a surgeon will use a graft, either from one of your other ligaments or from another person, to reattach the torn sections. The surgery is an outpatient procedure. If your doctor thinks surgery is necessary, our physical therapists will be able to treat you with pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation, which ensures that your knee will be healthy enough for the operation, and you’ll safely restore, strength, flexibility, and range of motion after.
How Do Physical Therapists in Avon, MO Treat MCL Injuries?
The goal of physical therapy, when dealing with any injury, is to implement safe and evidence-backed treatments, each aimed at helping a specific part of the body get back to optimal movement health. Physical therapy slowly and effectively improves strength in the surrounding muscles, 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 performed by your physical therapist to slowly get the MCL used to normal motion again
- More active exercises and stretches later to regain strength
- Exercises with elastic bands, weight lifting equipment, or cardio machines such as a stationary bike
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, which studies show can accelerate knee ligament healing
- Kinesio Taping®, which provides further stability while your body heals and encourages normal function
- 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 Avon, MO, all of our treatment plans are designed specifically for you, backed by empirical evidence, and created with the help of 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 Avon, 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 Avon, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury can be painful and frightening, especially if you’re an athlete, but with our help, you can get back to how you used to feel. 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 Avon, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.