MCL Injury | Brentwood, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Brentwood, MO. For many people who maintain an active lifestyle, feeling that sudden “pop” in their knee creates a lot of doubts: Did I injure my MCL? Is it significant? How long will I be sidelines for? Will this be the end of my athletic career? At Axes Physical Therapy in Brentwood, MO, we are driven by positive patient outcomes. 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 a fundamental aspect of any treatment plan for MCL injuries. Our physical therapists in Brentwood, MO are all licensed and average more than 15 years of individual experience. For lasting and meaningful recovery, reach out to the Axes location most convenient for you you or contact us online.
The Anatomy of the MCL
MCL is an abbreviation for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a tough, flexible of connective tissue that attaches bones to each other and keeps joints stable. The MCL runs from the inside of your upper shin bone to the inside of your bottoms thigh bone and helps keep your knee stable and moving normally. Its functions to guard against valgus stress, 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 runs down the center of your knee and provides rotational stability and controls forward movement
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which crosses the ACL inside the knee and acts as a secondary front and back stabilizer
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which connects the thigh bone to the fibula (the smaller bone between the knee and ankle) and prevents the knee from being forced unnaturally outward
The knee is known for being one of our most complex joints. Healthy structure and function depends on surrounding bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. There are countless knee injuries that can limit or completely restrict your mobility and pursue the activities you love most, or just live a pain-free day-to-day life. Particular physical therapy exercises and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been demonstrated through evidence to help those who have suffered an MCL injury manage their symptoms and get back to normal functionality.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
For all intents and purposes, an MCL injury either involves a sprain, which stretches the ligament beyond its normal limits, or a tear, where the MCL 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 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 some soreness.
- Grade 2 — This injury is when the MCL suffers more significant tearing, most commonly to the more fibrous part of the ligament. 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 — This injury is a complete tear to both the fibrous and deep parts. Your knee will be significantly unstable. 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.
However significant your MCL injuries, the team of expert Brentwood, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, alongside your doctor, implement a comprehensive and tailored plan aimed at returning you to the life you’re used to in a safe and effective manner.
How Do MCL Injuries Occur?
40% of all knee injuries involve damage to the MCL, LCL, ACL, or PCL, and most of the time that ligament is the MCL. Most MCL injuries occur due to a blow to the outside of the knee. MCL injuries can also by the knee rotating more than the ligament can stand. They can also take place when landing or unnatural bending, such as if your foot stays in one place 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
If you suffer an MCL injury in Brentwood, MO, you’ll likely notice the pain right away. Other symptoms may include:
- A sudden “pop” on the inside of your knee
- Inability to bear weight
- Tenderness along the inside of the joint
- Swelling, either of the MCL area or the whole knee
Sometimes your knee may feel like it’s wobbling when you walk, even if walking doesn’t hurt, while other times the knee feels too rigid. Any time you feel pain or instability in your knee, cease any strenuous activity immediately and schedule a physical examination in order to get a diagnosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of an MCL Injury in Brentwood, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a doctor’s office, emergency room or at a physical therapy center. In the examination, your Brentwood, 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 that specialize in mobility of the human body in Brentwood, MO are qualified to diagnose 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 magnet and computer-generated radio waves to produce three-dimensional images of your soft tissue
- 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, patella, tibia, and fibula have not fractured
Alternatively, you can 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.
How MCL Injuries are Treated in Brentwood, MO
Right after your MCL injury, you should start with basic first aid: reducing swelling, easing pain, and implementing the R.I.C.E. Method of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. For mild 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 to heal itself.
Grade 2 or 3 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 off your feet to allow your body to heal safely. Your Axes physical therapist in Brentwood, MO can fit you for a knee brace in order to prevent your knee from becoming more instable while your MCL is still healing. Even with physical therapy, you’ll likely still continue the R.I.C.E. method and over-the-counter meds.
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. The surgery is carried out by using a graft, either from your hamstring or an organ donor, to reattach the torn sections. You would be able to go home the day of the surgery. If you do require surgery in Brentwood, MO, our physical therapists are experts at pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation to make your surgery and recovery as successful as possible.
How Can Physical Therapy in Brentwood, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
The goal of physical therapy, when dealing with any injury, is to create safe, targeted, 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 knee, flexibility of soft tissue, and range of motion to the knee in the interest of not only recovery, but injury prevention. Depending on you and your injuries, your treatment plan may include:
- To begin, light motions 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 encourages normal function
- Trigger point dry needling to further help the body’s natural healing process
- Blood flow restriction training to improve strength while lifting lighter loads
- Athletic training and sports therapy for those whose main goal is to get back onto the court or field
At Axes Physical Therapy in Brentwood, 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 Brentwood, 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 Brentwood, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury is scary and anxiety-inducing at first, especially if you’re an athlete, 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. 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 Brentwood, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.