MCL Injury | Dittmer, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Dittmer, MO. If someone plays sports or engages in other physical activity, it’s easy to fear the worst when you feel sudden pain on the inside of your knee: Did I injure my MCL? 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 Dittmer, MO, we are driven by positive patient outcomes. 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 component of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in Dittmer, 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 schedule an appointment online.
What is the MCL?
MCL stands for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a fibrous of connective tissue that attaches bone to bone and helps hold structures with the musculoskeletal system together. The MCL runs from the inside of your upper shin bone to the inside of your bottoms thigh bone and maintains stability in the inner knee. Its primary purpose is to resist 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 goes through the middle 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 in the middle of the knee and acts as a secondary front and back stabilizer
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which affixes the femur to the fibula (the smaller bone in the lower leg) and prevents the knee from being pushed too far outward
The knee is known for being one of our most complex joints. Optimal structure and function depends on surrounding bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. There are countless knee injuries that can greatly affect your mobility and compete like you’re used to, or just live a pain-free day-to-day life. Particular physical therapy exercises and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been proven to help patients manage their symptoms and get back to optimal mobility.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
For all intents and purposes, an MCL injury either involves a sprain, wherein the MCL is stretched beyond its normal range of motion, or a tear, where the MCL may fray partially or entirely separate from the bone. MCL injuries are “graded” in three tiers:
- Grade 1 — A grade 1 sprain or tear means that the ligament has been stretched, and less than 10% of the the fibers in your MCL are torn. These injuries are typically not especially painful or debilitating, and your knee largely remains stable. Your knee will feel tender, and you may also experience soreness.
- Grade 2 — This is more significant tearing, generally to the more fibrous part of the ligament. You will probably lose some stability in the joint, and the knee will likely be loose when moved by hand. Symptoms of a grade 2 MCL injury generally include much more noticeable pain.
- Grade 3 — This occurs when your MCL is entirely torn, both the superficial and deep parts. You will retain little to no stability. 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.
However significant your MCL injuries, the team of licensed Dittmer, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, in concert with your doctor, create a comprehensive plan uniquely made for you and your injuries to get you back to the activities your love most without incurring further injury.
MCL Injuries: Causes and Symptoms
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 by the knee rotating too forcefully. They can also take place when landing or excessive bending, such as if a cleat is stuck in grass while your leg keeps moving.
MCL injuries usually occur athletes in contact sports and in activities that require a lot of sudden movement such as football, soccer, skiing, basketball, and tennis. 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
- Pain or discomfort when trying to bear weight
- Tenderness along the inside of the joint
- Inflammation, either where the MCL is located or the whole knee
Sometimes you may feel like your knee is “shaky”, while other times the knee feels too stiff. 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.
Diagnosis and Treatment of an MCL Injury in Dittmer, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a doctor’s office, urgent care or at a physical therapy center. In the examination, your Dittmer, 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 physicians that specialize in mobility of the human body in Dittmer, MO will be able to determine if you have 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 magnetic field and computer-generated radio waves to produce three-dimensional images of your soft tissue
- 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, to insure your femur, kneecap, tibia, and fibula have not been broken
You can also come to the Axes location nearest you for a complimentary, no-obligation injury screening. While we can offer you an evaluation, Missouri law stipulates a prescription in order to officially begin physical therapy treatment.
How MCL Injuries are Treated in Dittmer, 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, over-the-counter pain relievers, and some time with limited activity may be sufficient for your body’s natural healing processes to get you back on your feet.
More significant 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 time of limited activity to allow your body to heal safely. Your Axes physical therapist in Dittmer, MO will be able to 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 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 reconstruct the ligament. You would be able to go home the day of the surgery. If you do require surgery in Dittmer, MO, our physical therapists are experts at pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation get you the best possible results from your surgery.
How Do Physical Therapists in Dittmer, MO Treat MCL Injuries?
For recovering from any injury, a physically therapist will create safe, targeted, and evidence-backed treatment methods based on each patient’s specific injury and the lifestyle they want to get back to. 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. Depending on you and your injuries, your treatment plan may include:
- At the start, light movements performed by your physical therapist to slowly get the knee used to normal motion again
- Exercised performed by you later to regain strength
- Exercises with elastic bands, weights, or cardio machines such as treadmill
- 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 function
- 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 athletes who want to reduce the risk of reinjury
At Axes Physical Therapy in Dittmer, MO, all of our treatment plans are designed individually to each patient, backed by empirical evidence, and created alongside your doctor, in order to get you the best patient outcome possible and get you back to the activities you love.
Other conditions we help treat in Dittmer, MO include:
Schedule an Appointment With an Axes Physical Therapist in Dittmer, 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 you place a lot of trust in your physical therapists, so we repay that trust with safe and effective treatments that are 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 Dittmer, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.