MCL Injury | Fenton, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Fenton, MO. If someone plays sports or engages in other physical activity, feeling that sudden “pop” in their knee creates a lot of doubts: Did I injure my MCL? How bad is the injury? How long will it take to recover? Will this be the end of my athletic career? At Axes Physical Therapy in Fenton, MO, all of our physical and occupational therapists are dedicated to positive patient experiences. While we can’t, we can help ensure you get back to feeling like yourself with safe, evidence-backed treatments. Physical therapy has been shown time and time again to be an integral part of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in Fenton, MO are movement health experts. For treatment plans you know will be effective, call the Axes location most convenient for you you or contact us online.
How the MCL Works
MCL an acronym for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is like a strong, firmly attached rope 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 helps keep your knee stable and functioning normally. Its chief purpose is to guard against valgus pressure, or the knee being pushed too far towards the other one. It combines with three other ligaments that work together to support normal function and stability:
- ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), which runs down the center of your knee and provides rotational stability and controls forward movement
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which forms an “X” with the ACL in the middle of the knee and the femur from sliding off the tibia
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which attaches 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. A healthy knee relies on surrounding bone and muscle, and the tendons and ligaments in order to provide support and function properly. There are numerous knee injuries that can limit or completely restrict 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 treatment modalities, prescribed by a doctor, have been demonstrated through research and analysis to help patients manage their symptoms and get back to optimal mobility.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
In general, an MCL injury is either a sprain, which stretches the ligament farther than is naturally, or a tear, where the MCL may fray partially or entirely separate from the bone. MCL injuries are “graded” in three levels:
- Grade 1 — A grade 1 sprain or tear means that the ligament has been stretched, and less than 10% of the MCL has been torn. It’s typically a mild injury, and your knee will still be stable. Your knee will feel tender, and you may also experience mild pain.
- Grade 2 — This injury is when the MCL suffers more significant tearing, generally to the superficial part of the ligament. You will probably lose some stability in your knee, and the knee will likely be loose when manipulated manually. Pain is much more severe in a grade 2 MCL injury.
- Grade 3 — A grade 3 tear is a complete tear, or separation from the bone. Your knee will be significantly unstable. Pain will be intense and you’ll likely feel several other symptoms. Grade 3 MCL injuries often occur alongside other knee injuries such as ACL tears.
However significant your MCL injuries, our expert Fenton, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, as a team with your physician, develop an extensive plan uniquely made for you and your injuries to get you back to the things you love in a safe and effective manner.
What Causes MCL Injuries?
Ligament injuries account for 40% of all knee injuries, and the MCL is the most commonly injured ligament. Most people often suffer and MCL injury because of a force to the outer edge of the knee. MCL injuries can also by the knee rotating more than the ligament can stand. They can also take place when landing or excessive bending, such as if your foot stays in one place while you’re moving.
MCL injuries are common in athletes in contact sports and in athletic events 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
If you suffer an MCL injury in Fenton, MO, you’ll likely notice the pain right away. Other symptoms may include:
- Hearing or feeling a popping sound or feeling
- The knee being unstable
- Pain or discomfort when trying to bear weight
- Tenderness where the MCL is located
- Swelling, either of the MCL area or the whole knee
Sometimes your knee may feel like your knee is loose when you walk, even if walking doesn’t hurt, while other times the knee feels too stiff. If you experience any of the above symptoms, cease any strenuous activity immediately and schedule a physical examination in order to get a diagnosis.
Diagnosing and Treating an MCL Injury in Fenton, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a physical examination. In the examination, your Fenton, 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 check for stability.
Most physical therapists or doctors with knowledge of movement health in Fenton, MO will be able 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 magnet and computer-generated radio waves to take detailed 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
Axes Physical Therapy also offers injury screening injury screenings at no cost or obligation to you. While we will be able to diagnose your injury, Missouri law stipulates that physical therapy be prescribed by a doctor.
How to Treat and MCL Injury in Fenton, MO
The initial treatment of an MCL injury consists of basic first aid: reducing swelling, 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 a few days or week or two of rest may be sufficient for your body to heal itself.
Professional physical therapy is needed for more severe injuries to restore strength and function and get you back to the activities you love. You’ll also need time off your feet to allow your body to heal safely. Your Axes physical therapist in Fenton, 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 rare, 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. During the surgery, a surgeon will use a graft, either from one of your other ligaments or from another person, to reconstruct the MCL. The surgery is an outpatient procedure. If you do require surgery in Fenton, MO, our physical therapists specialize in pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation to make your surgery and recovery as successful as possible.
How Can Physical Therapy in Fenton, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
The objective of physical therapy, when dealing with any injury, is to design safe, effective, and evidence-backed treatment methods based on each patient as an individual. These treatments and exercises will, over time, build strength in the surrounding muscles, flexibility of ligaments and tendons, 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 knee used to normal motion again
- 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 provides further stability while your body heals and helps control 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 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 Fenton, MO, all of our treatment plans are as unique as each patient, 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 injuries we help treat in Fenton, 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 Fenton, 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 the structures of the knee so you can stay as healthy and active as possible. For meaningful and lasting recovery from your MCL injury in Fenton, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.