MCL Injury | Dardenne Prairie, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Dardenne Prairie, MO. For many people who maintain an active lifestyle, feeling that sudden “pop” in their knee creates a lot of anxiety: 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 Dardenne Prairie, MO, all of our physical and occupational therapists are dedicated to getting our patients back to tearing up the filed. While we’d like to be able to make your MCL injury go away, we can make your recovery safe and effective through customized, proven treatment plans. Physical therapy has been shown time and time again to be a fundamental component of any treatment plan for MCL injuries. Our physical therapists in Dardenne Prairie, MO are all licensed and average more than 15 years of individual experience. For lasting and meaningful recovery, reach out to the Axes location nearest you or request an appointment online.
What is the MCL?
MCL is an abbreviation for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a tough, flexible 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 keeps the knee from moving side to side. Its functions to resist valgus pressure, or the knee being pushed too far towards the other one. It is one of four ligaments in the knee, along with the:
- ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), which runs down the center of your knee and provides rotational stability and prevents the tibia from sliding too far forward on the femur
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which forms an “X” with the ACL inside the knee and acts as a secondary front and back stabilizer
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which runs along the outside of the knee from the thigh bone 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. Correct structure and function depends on surrounding bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. There are a variety of knee injuries that can greatly affect your mobility and pursue the activities you love most, or just get around the house pain-free. Particular physical therapy exercises and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been proven to help patients mitigate pain and swelling and get back to normal mobility.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
In general, 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. 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 MCL has been torn. It’s typically a mild injury, and your knee largely remains stable. Symptoms will likely be tenderness and some soreness.
- Grade 2 — This is a more moderate tear, generally to the superficial part of the ligament. Your knee will be slightly unstable, and the knee will likely be loose when manipulated manually. Pain is much more severe in a grade 2 MCL injury.
- Grade 3 — This injury is a complete tear to both the superficial and deep parts. Your knee will be significantly unstable. You will likely experience intense pain and 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, our expert Dardenne Prairie, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, alongside your physician, create an extensive plan specially made for you and your injuries to get you back to the things you love without incurring further injury.
What Causes MCL Injuries?
40% of all knee injuries involve damage to a ligament, and most of the time that ligament is the MCL. 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 more than the ligament can support. They can also occur because of landing or unnatural 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 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 people feel pain immediately on the inside of the joint when they experience an MCL sprain or tear. Other symptoms may include:
- A sudden “pop” on the inside of your knee
- Not being able to put any weight on the knee
- 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, or in other cases the knee feels too stiff. If you suspect you may have suffered an MCL injury, stop any strenuous activity immediately and schedule a physical examination in order to get a diagnosis.
Diagnosing and Treating an MCL Injury in Dardenne Prairie, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a physical examination. In the examination, your Dardenne Prairie, 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 gently see if your knee is unstanble while bending inward, and your pain level.
Most physical therapists or doctors that specialize in the musculoskeletal system in Dardenne Prairie, MO are qualified to determine if you have an MCL injury with a physical examination. 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 produce 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 fractured
You can also schedule and appointment with the Axes location most convenient for you for a complimentary, no-risk injury screening. While we can determine if you have suffered an MCL sprain or tear, Missouri law requires that physical therapy be prescribed by a doctor.
How to Treat and MCL Injury in Dardenne Prairie, MO
The initial treatment of an MCL injury consists of basic first aid: swelling reduction, easing pain, and utilizing 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 a few days or week or two of rest may be all you need 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 to refrain from most physical until your knee is strong again. Your Axes physical therapist in Dardenne Prairie, MO can fit you for a knee brace to give your knee stability while it’s healing. Even with physical therapy, you’ll likely still continue the R.I.C.E. method and anti-inflammatory medication.
Though rare, the worst grade 1 tears — 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 from another person, to reattach the torn sections. You would be able to go home the day of the surgery. If your doctor thinks surgery is necessary, our physical therapists specialize in pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation get you the best possible results from your surgery.
How Do Physical Therapists in Dardenne Prairie, MO Treat MCL Injuries?
For recovering from any injury, a physically therapist will implement safe and evidence-backed treatments, each aimed at helping a specific part of the body regain a specific level or function. These treatments and exercises will, over time, build 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. A physical therapist may recommend and implement the following practices:
- 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, weight lifting equipment, 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 keeps the knee stable and encourages normal motion
- Trigger point dry needling to stimulate harder-to-reach tissue
- Blood flow restriction training to help you make greater strength gains while lifting lighter loads
- Athletic training and sports therapy for athletes who want to improve their performance
At Axes Physical Therapy in Dardenne Prairie, MO, all of our treatment plans are designed specifically for you, proven through peer-reviewed research, and created with the help of your doctor, in order to deliver you the best client experience and get you back to doing what you love to do most.
Other services we offer in Dardenne Prairie, 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 Dardenne Prairie, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury can be painful and frightening, 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 we repay that trust with safe and effective treatments that are 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 Dardenne Prairie, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.