MCL Injury | Champ, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Champ, 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? Is it significant? How long will I be sidelines for? Will my knee ever be the same again? At Axes Physical Therapy in Champ, MO, all of our physical and occupational therapists are dedicated to getting our patients back to the activities they love most. While we can’t, we can help ensure you get back to feeling like yourself with safe, effective treatments. Physical therapy has been shown time and time again to be an essential aspect of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in Champ, MO are movement health experts. For treatment plans you know will be effective, reach out to the Axes location nearest you or schedule an appointment online.
The Anatomy of the MCL
MCL an acronym for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a tough band of connective tissue that attaches bone to bone 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 primary purpose is to guard against valgus stress, or the knee being pushed unnaturally towards the other one. It combines with three other ligaments that work together to support normal function and stability:
- 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 forms an “X” with the ACL inside the knee and controls backward movement
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which affixes the thigh bone to the fibula (the smaller bone between the knee and ankle) and provides stability to the outer knee
The knee is known for being one of our most complex joints. It depends on surrounding bone and muscle, and the tendons and ligaments in order to provide support and function properly. 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 get around the house pain-free. Particular physical therapy techniques and other treatment modalities, prescribed by a doctor, have been demonstrated through evidence to help patients reduce pain and get back to optimal functionality.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
For all intents and purposes, an MCL injury is either a sprain, wherein the MCL extends beyond its normal limits, or a tear, where the ligament may fray partially or entirely separate from the bone. MCL injuries are “graded” in three tiers:
- Grade 1 — A grade 1 MCL injury refers to a sprain, or a tear where less than 10% of the MCL has been 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 a more moderate tear, generally to the middle layer of the ligament. You will probably lose some stability in the joint, and the knee will likely be loose when manipulated manually. A grade 2 injury will result in significantly more pain than a grade 2 MCL injury.
- Grade 3 — This injury is a complete tear to both the fibrous and deep parts. You will likely feel like your knee’s about to “give out.” You will likely feel significant pain and several other symptoms. Grade 3 MCL injuries often occur alongside other knee injuries such as ACL tears.
However significant your MCL injuries, our expert Champ, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, along with your doctor, create an exhaustive and personalized plan to get you back to the things you love without incurring further injury.
MCL Injuries: Causes and Symptoms
Ligament injuries account for 40% of all knee injuries, and the MCL is the most commonly injured ligament. 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 occur if the knee is rotated too forcefully. They can also happen because of landing or excessive bending, such as if your foot stays in one place while the rest of your body moves.
MCL injuries usually occur athletes in contact sports and in sports that require a lot of cutting and jumping such as football, soccer, skiing, basketball, and tennis. 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 sudden, noticeable pain. Other symptoms may include:
- Hearing or feeling a popping sound or feeling
- Feeling like the may buckle
- Pain or discomfort when trying to bear weight
- Tenderness where the MCL is located
- Inflammation, either on the inside of the knee or the entire knee joint
Sometimes you may feel like your knee is “shaky”, while other times 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 schedule a physical examination in order to get a diagnosis.
Diagnosing and Treating an MCL Injury in Champ, MO
MCL injuries are diagnosed in a doctor’s office, emergency room or at a physical therapy center. In the examination, your Champ, MO doctor or physical therapist will go over what led to the injury, 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 Champ, 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 create detailed images of the knee joint
- 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 mandates that physical therapy be prescribed by a physician.
Treating an MCL Injury in Champ, MO
Right after your MCL injury, you should start with basic first aid: reducing swelling, easing pain, and utilizing 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 a few days or week or two of rest may be enough for your body to heal itself.
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 rigorous until your knee is strong again. Your Axes physical therapist in Champ, MO will be able to fit you for a knee brace in order to prevent your knee from bending too far inward while your MCL is still healing. With physical therapy, you’ll still continue icing your knee and taking anti-inflammatory pain medication.
Though uncommon, 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. The surgery is carried out by using a graft, either from your hamstring or from another person, to reattach the torn sections. The surgery is an outpatient procedure. If you do require surgery in Champ, 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 Champ, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
For recovering from any injury, a physically therapist will design safe, targeted, and evidence-backed treatment methods based on each patient’s specific injury and the lifestyle they want to get back to. These treatments and exercises will, over time, build strength in the strength in the muscles that power the joint, flexibility of ligaments and tendons, and range of motion to the joint 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, passive movements carried about by your physical therapist to help restore normal functionality
- Exercised performed by you later to regain strength
- Exercises with resistant 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 encourages normal function
- Trigger point dry needling to stimulate harder-to-reach tissue
- 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 Champ, MO, all of our treatment plans are as unique as each patient, and created in concert with your physician, in order to get you the best patient outcome possible and get you back to doing what you love to do most.
Other conditions we help treat in Champ, MO include:
- Total Knee Replacement Physical Therapy
- Vestibular Therapy
- Concussion Treatment
- Soft Tissue Mobilization
- Post Surgical Rehabilitation
- Shin Splint Treatment
- Direct Access Physical Therapy
- Gait Analysis
- Pelvic Floor Therapy
- Dry Needling Near Me
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Champ, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury can be painful and frightening, especially if you’re an athlete, 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. 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 Champ, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.