MCL Injury | Boles, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Boles, 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 it take to recover? Will I have to permanently give up the things I love doing? At Axes Physical Therapy in Boles, MO, all of our physical and occupational therapists are committed to getting our clients back to the physical lifestyles they’ve grown to love. While we can’t, we can make your recovery safe and effective through customized, evidence-based treatment plans. Physical therapy has been shown time and time again to be a fundamental aspect of any treatment plan for MCL injuries. Our physical therapists in Boles, MO specialize helping a variety of injuries and conditions in the musculoskeletal system heal. For lasting and meaningful recovery, call the Axes location nearest you or contact us online.
The Anatomy of the MCL
MCL an acronym for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a tough band of connective tissue that connects bones to each other and provides stability. 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 guard against valgus pressure, or the knee being forced unnaturally inward. It is one of four ligaments that help keep the knee stable, along with the:
- ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), which runs down the center of your knee and provides rotational stability and prevents the tibia from sliding too far forward on the femur
- 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 gives stability to the outer knee
The knee is one of the largest joints we have. Correct structure and movement depends on surrounding bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. When any knee injury, such as an MCL tear, occurs it can greatly affect your mobility and ability to do what you love most, or just live a pain-free day-to-day life. Certain physical therapy exercises 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 normal mobility.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
Generally speaking, an MCL injury is either a sprain, wherein the MCL extends farther than is naturally, or a tear, where the ligament is either partially or completely torn or separated from the bone. There are three grades to MCL injuries:
- 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 MCL are torn. These injuries are typically not especially painful or debilitating, and your knee will still be stable. Your knee will feel tender, and you may also experience mild pain.
- Grade 2 — This injury is when the MCL suffers more significant tearing, generally to the more fibrous part of the MCL. You will probably lose some stability in the joint, 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. 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.
However significant your MCL injuries, the team of qualified Boles, 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.
MCL Injuries: Causes and Symptoms
40% of all knee injuries involve damage to the MCL, LCL, ACL, or PCL, and most of the time that ligament is the MCL. 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 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 can also occur in people 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 MCL injuries are accompanied by sudden, noticeable pain. Other symptoms may include:
- Hearing or feeling a popping noise or feeling
- Not being able to put any weight on the knee
- 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, or in other cases you’ll barely be able to move the knee. Any time you feel pain or instability in your knee, do not participate in any more strenuous activity and seek medical treatment for a diagnosis.
Diagnosing and Treating an MCL Injury in Boles, MO
MCL injuries are diagnosed in a physical examination. In the examination, your Boles, 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 physicians with knowledge of movement health in Boles, MO will be able to determine if you have an MCL injury with the above procedures. 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 radio waves to take three-dimensional images of the knee joint
- 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, may be ordered for a severe MCL injury to ensure there are no broken bones
You can also visit the Axes location nearest you for a free, no-obligation injury screening. While we will be able to diagnose your injury, Missouri Revised Statute §334.506 stipulates that physical therapy be prescribed by a doctor.
Treating an MCL Injury in Boles, MO
The initial treatment of an MCL injury consists of basic first aid: reducing swelling, relieving pain, and using the R.I.C.E. Method of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. For grade 1 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 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 of limited activity to allow your body to heal safely. Your Axes physical therapist in Boles, MO will be able to fit you for a knee brace to give your knee stability while it’s 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. During the surgery, a surgeon will use a graft, either from your hamstring or from another person, to reconstruct the MCL. You would be able to go home the day of the surgery. If your doctor thinks surgery is necessary, 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 Boles, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
For recovering from any injury, a physically therapist will implement safe and evidence-backed exercises, each aimed at helping a specific part of the body get back to optimal movement health. These treatments and exercises will, over time, build strength in the strength in the muscles that power the joint, flexibility of soft tissue, 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 motions performed by your physical therapist to slowly get the knee used to normal motion again
- 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 keeps the knee stable and encourages normal function
- Trigger point dry needling to stimulate harder-to-reach tissue
- Blood flow restriction training to improve strength 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 Boles, MO, all of our treatment plans are designed specifically for you, proven through peer-reviewed research, 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 Boles, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Boles, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury can be painful and frightening, 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 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. 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 Boles, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.