MCL Injury | Dellwood, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Dellwood, 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 injure my MCL? Is it significant? How long will it take to recover? Will I have to permanently give up the things I love doing? At Axes Physical Therapy in Dellwood, 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 a critical aspect of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in Dellwood, MO are movement health experts. For lasting and meaningful recovery, call the Axes location most convenient for you you or contact us online.
The Anatomy of the MCL
MCL stands for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is like a strong, firmly attached rope that affixes bone to bone and keeps joints stable. The MCL connects your upper shin bone to the inner surface of the bottom thigh bone, running along your inner knee, and helps keep your knee stable and functioning normally. Its main purpose is to resist valgus stress, or the knee being forced unnaturally inward. 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 prevents the knee from bending inward
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which forms an “X” with the ACL inside the knee and controls backward movement
- 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 helps keep the outer side of your knee joint stable
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. There are countless knee injuries that can greatly affect your mobility and ability to do what you love most, or just live a pain-free day-to-day life. Specific physical therapy techniques and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been demonstrated through evidence to help those who have suffered an MCL injury mitigate pain and swelling and get back to optimal movement health.
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 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 MCL injury refers to a sprain, or a tear where less than 10% of the the fibers in your MCL are torn. These injuries are typically not especially painful or debilitating, and your knee will still be stable. You will likely experience some tenderness and mild pain.
- Grade 2 — This is more significant tearing, usually to the middle layer of the ligament. Your knee will be slightly unstable, and your joint may be loose when moved by hand. Symptoms of a grade 2 MCL injury generally include much more noticeable pain.
- Grade 3 — A grade 3 tear is a complete tear, or separation from the bone. You will likely feel like your knee’s about to “give out.” You will likely feel intense pain and several other symptoms. Grade 3 MCL injuries often occur alongside other knee injuries such as ACL tears.
Whatever grade MCL injury you have, the team of professional Dellwood, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, as a team with your doctor, develop an exhaustive and tailored plan aimed at returning you to the life you’re used to safely.
What Causes MCL Injuries?
Ligament injuries account for 40% of all knee injuries, and the MCL is the most commonly injured ligament. 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 occur because of 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 lift weights or lift heavy objects at their work.
Common Symptoms of MCL Injuries
Most MCL injuries are accompanied by immediate, noticeable pain. Other symptoms may include:
- A sudden “pop” on the inside of your knee
- Feeling like the may give out
- Not being able to put any weight on the knee
- Tenderness where the MCL is located
- Inflammation, either on the inside of the knee or the whole knee
Sometimes you may feel like your knee is “shaky”, while other times you’ll barely be able to move the knee. If you suspect you may have suffered an MCL injury, 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 Dellwood, MO
MCL injuries are diagnosed in a physical examination. In the examination, your Dellwood, 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 doctors that specialize in mobility of the human body in Dellwood, MO are qualified to diagnose 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 magnet and computer-generated radio waves to produce three-dimensional 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, may be ordered for a severe MCL injury to ensure there are no broken bones
Alternatively, you can come to the Axes location most convenient for you for a complimentary, no-obligation injury screening. While we will be able to diagnose your injury, Missouri Revised Statute §334.506 stipulates a prescription for further physical therapy.
How to Treat and MCL Injury in Dellwood, MO
Right after your MCL injury, you should start with basic first aid: inflammation reduction, managing discomfort, 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, over-the-counter pain relievers, and some time spent resting may be enough for your body to heal itself.
Professional physical therapy is needed for grade 2 and 3 tears to restore strength and optimal range of motion and get you back to racing down or around the court or field. You’ll also need time resting to allow your body to heal safely. Your Axes physical therapist in Dellwood, 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 over-the-counter meds.
Though uncommon, 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 performed by using a graft, either from one of your other ligaments or from another person, to reattach the torn sections. The surgery is an outpatient procedure. If your doctor thinks surgery is necessary, our physical therapists will be able to treat you with pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation get you the best possible results from your surgery.
How Can Physical Therapy in Dellwood, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
For recovering from any injury, a physically therapist will create safe and evidence-backed exercises, each aimed at helping a specific part of the body get back to optimal movement health. These treatments and exercises will, over time, build strength in the surrounding muscles, 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 carried about by your physical therapist to slowly get the joint used to normal motion again
- More active exercises and stretches later to regain strength
- Exercises with resistant bands, weight lifting equipment, or cardio machines such as an elliptical
- 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 lessening stress on the joint
- Athletic training and sports therapy for athletes who want to improve their performance
At Axes Physical Therapy in Dellwood, MO, all of our treatment plans are as unique as each patient, and created with the help of 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 Dellwood, MO include:
- 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
- Tendonitis Treatment
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Dellwood, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury can be painful and frightening, especially if you’re used to being physically active, but with our help, you can get back to how you used to feel. 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 Dellwood, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.