MCL Injury | Femme Osage, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Femme Osage, 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 suffer an MCL injury? How bad is the injury? How long will I be sidelines for? Will I ever be able to perform at the same level again? At Axes Physical Therapy in Femme Osage, MO, we are driven by positive patient experiences. 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 an integral aspect of any treatment plan for MCL injuries. Our physical therapists in Femme Osage, MO specialize helping a variety of injuries and conditions in the musculoskeletal system heal. For lasting and meaningful recovery, call the Axes location most convenient for you you or schedule an appointment online.
The Anatomy of the MCL
MCL stands for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a tough band of connective tissue that connects bones to each other 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 maintains stability in the inner knee. Its main purpose is to guard against valgus stress, or the knee being pushed 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 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 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 one of the largest joints in the human body. Optimal structure and function depends on surrounding bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. There are a variety of knee injuries that can limit or completely restrict your mobility and ability to do what you love most, or just get around the house pain-free. Certain physical therapy exercises and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been proven to help those who have suffered an MCL injury reduce pain and get back to optimal mobility.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
In general, an MCL injury either involves a sprain, wherein the MCL extends beyond its normal limits, or a tear, where the MCL is either partially or completely torn or separated from the bone. MCL injuries are “graded” in three levels:
- 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 don’t result in much instability. You will likely experience some tenderness and mild pain.
- Grade 2 — This is a more moderate tear, most commonly to the more fibrous part of the ligament. Your knee will be slightly unstable, and the knee will likely be loose when manipulated manually. Symptoms of a grade 2 MCL injury generally include much more noticeable pain.
- Grade 3 — This injury is a complete tear to both the superficial and deep parts. You will retain little to no stability. You will likely experience significant pain and several other symptoms. The injury may actually caused by or accompanied by other serious knee injuries such as ACL tears.
However significant your MCL injuries, our qualified Femme Osage, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, as a team with your physician, create an exhaustive plan uniquely made for you and your injuries aimed at returning you to the life you’re used to safely.
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 more than the ligament can support. They can also take place when landing or excessive bending, such as if a cleat is stuck in grass while you’re moving.
MCL injuries are common in athletes in contact sports and in activities that require a lot of cutting and jumping such as football, soccer, skiing, basketball, and tennis. They are also common in those who lift weights or lift heavy objects at their work.
Common Symptoms of MCL Injuries
Most people feel pain immediately on the inside of the knee when they experience an MCL sprain or tear. Other symptoms may include:
- Hearing or feeling a popping noise or feeling
- The knee being unstable
- Not being able to put any weight on the knee
- Tenderness where the MCL is located
- Swelling, either on the inside of the knee or the whole knee
Sometimes your knee may feel like it’s wobbling when you walk, even if walking doesn’t hurt, or in other cases the knee feels too stiff. If you suspect you may have suffered an MCL injury, cease any strenuous activity immediately and schedule a physical examination in order to get a diagnosis.
Diagnosing and Treating an MCL Injury in Femme Osage, MO
MCL injuries are diagnosed in a physical examination. The exam will usually start with a doctor or physical therapist in Femme Osage, MO asking how the injury occurred. They’ll then bend your knee and apply slight pressure to the outside of it, noting your pain level and if your knee feels structurally sound. They’ll also gently feel for swelling, and may compare your injured knee to the healthy one.
Most physical therapists or physicians with knowledge of movement health in Femme Osage, MO will be able 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 magnetic field and computer-generated radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of your knee
- An ultrasound, which uses sound waves and can be helpful in checking the severity 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 offer you an evaluation, Missouri Revised Statute §334.506 mandates a prescription for further physical therapy.
Treating an MCL Injury in Femme Osage, MO
The initial treatment of an MCL injury consists of basic first aid: reducing swelling, easing pain, and implementing the R.I.C.E. Method of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. For mild injuries, the R.I.C.E method, pain and swelling relievers, and some time spent off your feet may be sufficient for your body to heal itself.
Professional physical therapy is needed for more severe 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 to refrain from most physical until your knee is strong again. Your Axes physical therapist in Femme Osage, MO will be able to fit you for a knee brace so that you don’t suffer further injury. With physical therapy, you’ll still continue icing your knee and taking anti-inflammatory pain medication.
Though uncommon, 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. The surgery is carried out by using a graft, either from one of your other ligaments or an organ donor, to reconstruct the MCL. 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 Can Physical Therapy in Femme Osage, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
The goal of physical therapy, when dealing with any injury, is to create safe and evidence-backed exercises, each aimed at helping a specific part of the body get back to optimal movement health. Physical therapy slowly and effectively improves strength in the strength in the muscles that power the joint, flexibility of soft tissue, and range of motion to the joint in the interest of not only recovery, but injury prevention. A physical therapist may recommend and implement the following practices:
- At the start, passive movements performed by your physical therapist to slowly get the MCL used to normal motion again
- Exercised performed by you later to regain strength
- Exercises with resistant bands, weight lifting equipment, or cardio machines such as a stationary bike
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, which research suggests can accelerate knee ligament healing
- Kinesio Taping®, which provides further stability while your body heals and helps control 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 those whose main goal is to get back onto the court or field
At Axes Physical Therapy in Femme Osage, MO, all of our treatment plans are designed individually to each patient, 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 the activities you love.
Other conditions we help treat in Femme Osage, 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 Femme Osage, 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. 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 Femme Osage, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.