MCL Injury | Campbellton, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Campbellton, MO. For many people who maintain an active lifestyle, feeling that sudden “pop” in their knee creates a lot of anxiety: Did I suffer an MCL injury? How bad is the injury? How long will it take to recover? Will this be the end of my athletic career? At Axes Physical Therapy in Campbellton, MO, all of our physical and occupational therapists are committed to positive patient experiences. While we’d like to be able to make your MCL injury go away, we can make your recovery safe and effective through tailored, evidence-based treatment plans. Physical therapy has been shown time and time again to be a critical aspect of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in Campbellton, MO are movement health experts. For treatment plans you know will be effective, call the Axes location nearest you or schedule an appointment online.
What is the MCL?
MCL is an abbreviation for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a fibrous of connective tissue that connects bone to bone and provides stability. 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 primary purpose is to guard against valgus stress, or the knee being pushed 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 controls forward movement
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which crosses the ACL inside the knee and keeps the shinbone from sliding back too far
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which runs along the outside of the knee from the thigh bone to the fibula (the smaller bone in the lower leg) and provides stability to the outer knee
The knee is one of the biggest joints in the human body. It depends on surrounding bone and muscle, and the tendons and ligaments in order to provide support and function properly. There are countless knee injuries that can greatly affect your mobility and ability to do what you love most, or just complete basic tasks pain-free. Specific physical therapy exercises and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been demonstrated through research and analysis to help patients mitigate pain and swelling and return to normal movement health.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
Generally speaking, an MCL injury either involves a sprain, wherein the MCL extends beyond its normal range of motion, 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 don’t result in much instability. Symptoms will likely be tenderness and mild pain.
- Grade 2 — This injury is when the MCL suffers more significant tearing, usually to the superficial part of the MCL. Your knee will be slightly unstable, and the knee will likely 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. 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.
Whatever grade MCL injury you have, our qualified Campbellton, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, as a team with your physician, develop a comprehensive and personalized plan aimed at returning you to the life you’re used to 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. People often suffer and MCL injury because of the knee suddenly being forced too far inward. MCL injuries can also by the knee rotating too forcefully. They can also take place when landing or awkward 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:
- Hearing or feeling a popping noise or sensation
- Pain or discomfort when trying to bear weight
- Tenderness where the MCL is located
- Swelling, either on the inside of the knee or the entire knee joint
Sometimes your knee may feel like your knee is loose when you walk, even if walking doesn’t hurt, while other times you’ll barely be able to move the knee. If you experience any of the above symptoms, do not participate in any more strenuous activity and seek medical treatment for a diagnosis.
Diagnosing and Treating an MCL Injury in Campbellton, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a physical examination. The exam will usually start with a doctor or physical therapist in Campbellton, MO asking how the injury occurred. They’ll then bend your knee and apply slight pressure to the outside of it, noting your pain level and if your knee feels structurally sound. They’ll also gently feel for swelling, and may compare your injured knee to the healthy one.
Most physical therapists or doctors with knowledge of movement health in Campbellton, 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 radio waves to take three-dimensional images of the inside of your knee
- An ultrasound, which uses sound waves and can help determine how severely the MCL is torn
- An X-ray, which does not show soft tissue, to insure your femur, kneecap, tibia, and fibula have not been broken
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 Revised Statute §334.506 stipulates that physical therapy be prescribed by a doctor.
Treating an MCL Injury in Campbellton, MO
Right after your MCL injury, you should start with basic first aid: inflammation reduction, easing discomfort, and implementing the R.I.C.E. Method of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. For sprains or slight tears, the R.I.C.E method, over-the-counter pain relievers, and some time spent off your feet may be sufficient for your body’s natural healing processes to get you back on your feet.
Professional physical therapy is needed for more severe injuries to restore strength and function and get you back to racing down or around the court or field. You’ll also need to refrain from most physical activity for an even longer period. Your Axes physical therapist in Campbellton, MO can fit you for a knee brace so that you don’t suffer further injury. With physical therapy, you’ll still continue icing your knee and taking anti-inflammatory pain 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 knee. The surgery is carried out by using a graft, either from your hamstring or from another person, to reattach the torn sections. You would be able to go home the day of the surgery. If you do require surgery in Campbellton, 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 Campbellton, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
The objective of physical therapy, when dealing with any injury, is to implement safe, effective, and evidence-backed treatment methods based on each patient as an individual. Physical therapy slowly and effectively improves strength in the surrounding muscles, flexibility of ligaments and tendons, and range of motion to the knee so you can get back to what you love most and prevent further injury. A physical therapist may recommend and implement the following practices:
- To begin, light movements performed by your physical therapist to slowly get the ligament 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 treadmill
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, which research suggests can accelerate knee ligament healing
- Kinesio Taping®, which keeps the knee stable and helps control motion
- Trigger point dry needling to stimulate harder-to-reach tissue
- Blood flow restriction training to improve strength 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 Campbellton, MO, all of our treatment plans are as unique as each patient, and created in concert with your physician, in order to deliver you the best client experience and get you back to the activities you love.
Other injuries we help treat in Campbellton, 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 Campbellton, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury is scary and anxiety-inducing at first, especially if you’re an athlete or someone who finds joy in an active lifestyle, but with our help, the ailment is only temporary. We know our clients trust us with their recovery, 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 Campbellton, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.