MCL Injury | Bonne Terre, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Bonne Terre, 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 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 Bonne Terre, MO, we are driven by positive patient outcomes. While we can’t, we can make your recovery safe and effective through customized, proven treatment plans. Physical therapy has proven to be an essential component of any treatment plan for MCL injuries. Our physical therapists in Bonne Terre, MO specialize helping a variety of injuries and conditions in the musculoskeletal system heal. 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 stands for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is like a strong, firmly attached rope that attaches bone to bone and keeps joints stable. The MCL connects your upper shin bone to the inner surface of the bottom thigh bone, running along your inner knee, and helps keep your knee stable and moving normally. Its main purpose is to guard against valgus pressure, or the knee being forced too far inward. It combines with three other ligaments that work together to support normal function and stability:
- ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), which goes through the middle of your knee and controls rotation and prevents the knee from bending inward
- 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 affixes the femur to the fibula (the smaller bone the small bone behind the tibia) and helps keep the outer side of your knee joint stable
The knee is known for being one of our most complex joints. Optimal structure and function 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 pursue the activities you love most, or just live a pain-free day-to-day life. Particular physical therapy techniques and other treatment modalities, prescribed by a doctor, have been proven to help patients manage their symptoms and return to normal functionality.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
Generally speaking, an MCL injury is either a sprain, which stretches the ligament beyond its normal limits, 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 MCL has been torn. These injuries are typically not especially painful or debilitating, and your knee largely remains stable. You will likely experience some tenderness and mild pain.
- Grade 2 — This is a more moderate tear, generally to the superficial part of the ligament. Your knee will be slightly unstable, and your joint may be loose when moved by hand. 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. You will likely feel like your knee’s about to “give out.” You will likely experience significant pain and 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, the team of expert Bonne Terre, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, alongside your physician, develop an extensive plan specially made for you and your injuries to get you back to the activities your love most in a safe and effective manner.
MCL Injuries: Causes and Symptoms
40% of all knee injuries involve damage to a ligament, 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 by the knee rotating too forcefully. They can also happen because of landing or awkward bending, such as if a cleat is stuck in grass while the rest of your body moves.
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 people feel pain immediately on the inside of the knee when they experience an MCL sprain or tear. Other symptoms may include:
- Hearing or feeling a popping noise or sensation
- The knee being unstable
- Inability to bear weight
- Tenderness along the inside of the joint
- Swelling, either where the MCL is located or the whole knee
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.
Diagnosis and Treatment of an MCL Injury in Bonne Terre, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a doctor’s office, urgent care or at a physical therapy center. In the examination, your Bonne Terre, 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 with knowledge of movement health in Bonne Terre, MO will be able 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 magnetic field and radio waves to take detailed 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, 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
You can also schedule and appointment with the Axes location nearest you for a complimentary, no-risk injury screening. While we can offer you an evaluation, Missouri Revised Statute §334.506 requires a prescription in order to officially begin physical therapy treatment.
Treating an MCL Injury in Bonne Terre, MO
Typically, treating an MCL injury begins with basic first aid: swelling reduction, managing 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, pain and swelling relievers, and a few days or week or two of rest may be sufficient for your body’s natural healing processes to get you back on your feet.
Professional physical therapy is needed for grade 2 and 3 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 to refrain from rigorous until your knee is strong again. Your Axes physical therapist in Bonne Terre, 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 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 your hamstring or an organ donor, to reconstruct the MCL. The surgery is an outpatient procedure. If your doctor thinks surgery is necessary, our physical therapists are experts at pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation to make your surgery and recovery as successful as possible.
How Do Physical Therapists in Bonne Terre, MO Treat MCL Injuries?
For recovering from any injury, a physically therapist will create 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 joint in the interest of not only recovery, but injury prevention. Depending on you and your injuries, your treatment plan may include:
- At the start, passive movements performed by your physical therapist to help restore normal functionality
- More active exercises and stretches later to regain strength
- Exercises with elastic bands, weights, or cardio machines such as an elliptical
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, which has been proven to help 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 athletes who want to reduce the risk of reinjury
At Axes Physical Therapy in Bonne Terre, MO, all of our treatment plans are as unique as each patient, and created alongside 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 Bonne Terre, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Bonne Terre, 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. 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 Bonne Terre, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.