MCL Injury | Clarkson Valley, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Clarkson Valley, MO. If someone plays sports or engages in other physical activity, 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 I be sidelines for? Will I have to permanently give up the things I love doing? At Axes Physical Therapy in Clarkson Valley, MO, all of our physical and occupational therapists are committed to 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 part of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in Clarkson Valley, MO are all licensed and average more than 15 years of individual experience. For lasting and meaningful recovery, call the Axes location most convenient for you you or contact us online.
What is the MCL?
MCL is an abbreviation for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is like a strong, firmly attached rope that connects bone to bone and helps hold structures with the body together. The MCL connects your upper shin bone to the inner surface of the bottom thigh bone, running along your inner knee, and keeps the knee from moving side to side. Its functions to resist valgus stress, or the knee being forced 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 goes through the middle of your knee and controls rotation and controls forward movement
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which crosses the ACL inside the knee and the femur from sliding off the tibia
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which runs along the outside of the knee from 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 one of the most complex joints in the human body. It depends on surrounding bone and muscle, and the tendons and ligaments in order to provide stability and function properly. There are countless knee injuries that can have tremendous consequences for your mobility and pursue the activities you love most, or just live a pain-free day-to-day life. Certain physical therapy techniques and other treatment modalities, prescribed by a doctor, have been proven to help patients manage their symptoms and return to normal mobility.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
In general, an MCL injury either involves a sprain, which stretches the ligament farther than is naturally, or a tear, where the MCL is either partially or completely torn or separated from the bone. There are three grades to MCL injuries:
- Grade 1 — A grade 1 MCL injury refers to a sprain, or a tear where less than 10% of the the fibers in your MCL are torn. These are not generally severe, and don’t result in much instability. Your knee will feel tender, and you may also experience soreness.
- Grade 2 — This is more significant tearing, usually 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 moved by hand. Pain is much more severe in a grade 2 MCL injury.
- Grade 3 — This injury is a complete tear to both the fibrous and deep parts. You will retain little to no stability. Pain will be intense and you’ll likely feel a wide array of symptoms. Grade 3 MCL injuries often occur alongside other knee injuries such as ACL tears.
However significant your MCL injuries, our professional Clarkson Valley, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, alongside your doctor, create an exhaustive plan specially made for you and your injuries to get you back to the activities your love most safely.
What Causes MCL Injuries?
40% of all knee injuries involve damage to the MCL, LCL, ACL, or PCL, 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 take place when landing or awkward bending, such as if a cleat is stuck in grass while your leg keeps moving.
Athletes in contact sports are the most likely to sustain an MCL injury. They can also occur in people who have to squat 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 Clarkson Valley, MO, you’ll likely notice the pain right away. Other symptoms may include:
- A sudden “pop” on the inside of your knee
- The knee being unstable
- Inability to bear weight
- Tenderness where the MCL is located
- Inflammation, either on the inside of the knee 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, do not participate in any more strenuous activity and seek medical treatment for a diagnosis.
Diagnosing and Treating an MCL Injury in Clarkson Valley, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a doctor’s office, emergency room or at a physical therapy center. The exam will usually start with a doctor or physical therapist in Clarkson Valley, MO asking how the injury occurred. They’ll then bend your knee and apply slight pressure to the outside of it, noting how much pain you are in and whether or not your knee is unstable. They’ll also gently feel for swelling, and may compare your injured knee to the healthy one.
Most physical therapists or doctors that specialize in mobility of the human body in Clarkson Valley, 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 computer-generated radio waves to take three-dimensional images of the knee joint
- An ultrasound, which uses sound waves and can help determine the grade 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
Axes Physical Therapy also offers injury screening injury screenings at no cost or obligation to you. While we can determine if you have suffered an MCL sprain or tear, Missouri law mandates a prescription for further physical therapy.
How MCL Injuries are Treated in Clarkson Valley, MO
Right after your MCL injury, you should start with basic first aid: swelling reduction, relieving pain, and using the R.I.C.E. Method of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. For sprains or slight tears, the R.I.C.E method, pain and swelling relievers, and some time spent off your feet may be all you need for your body’s natural healing processes to get you back on your feet.
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 to refrain from strenuous activity for an even longer period. Your Axes physical therapist in Clarkson Valley, MO can fit you for a knee brace to give your knee stability while it’s 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. During the surgery, a surgeon will use a graft, either from one of your other ligaments or an organ donor, to reconstruct the ligament. You would be able to go home the day of the surgery. 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 Clarkson Valley, MO Treat MCL Injuries?
For recovering from any injury, a physically therapist will implement safe, effective, 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:
- At the start, passive motions carried about by your physical therapist to help restore normal functionality
- Exercised performed by you 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 provides further stability while your body heals and encourages normal motion
- Trigger point dry needling to further help the body’s natural healing process
- Blood flow restriction training to help you make greater strength gains 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 Clarkson Valley, MO, all of our treatment plans are designed specifically for you, proven through peer-reviewed research, 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 Clarkson Valley, MO include:
- Soft Tissue Mobilization
- Post Surgical Rehabilitation
- Shin Splint Treatment
- Direct Access Physical Therapy
- Gait Analysis
- Pelvic Floor Therapy
- Dry Needling Near Me
- Tendonitis Treatment
- Manual Physical Therapy
- Orthopedic Rehab Near Me
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Clarkson Valley, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury is scary and anxiety-inducing at first, especially if you’re an athlete, 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 Clarkson Valley, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.