MCL Injury | Festus, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Festus, 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 suffer an MCL injury? Is it significant? How long will I be sidelines for? Will I have to permanently give up the things I love doing? At Axes Physical Therapy in Festus, MO, we are driven by positive patient experiences. While we’d like to be able to magically fix your MCL, we can make your recovery safe and effective through customized, evidence-based treatment plans. Physical therapy has been shown time and time again to be an integral component of any treatment plan for MCL injuries. Our physical therapists in Festus, MO are movement health experts. For treatment plans you know will be effective, reach out to the Axes location nearest you or request an appointment online.
The Anatomy of the MCL
MCL an acronym for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is like a strong, firmly attached rope that attaches 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 maintains stability in the inner knee. Its functions to guard against valgus stress, or the knee being pushed unnaturally inward. It combines with three other ligaments to keep the knee stable:
- ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), which runs down the center of your knee and controls rotation and prevents the knee from bending inward
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which crosses 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 the small bone behind the tibia) and prevents the knee from being forced too far outward
The knee is known for being one of our most complex joints. A healthy knee relies on surrounding bone and muscle, and the tendons and ligaments in order to provide stability and function properly. There are numerous knee injuries that can limit or completely restrict your mobility and pursue the activities you love most, or just complete basic tasks pain-free. Specific physical therapy techniques and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been proven to help patients reduce pain and return to optimal functionality.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
For all intents and purposes, an MCL injury is either a sprain, which stretches the ligament farther than is naturally, or a tear, where the ligament 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 don’t result in much instability. You will likely experience some tenderness and some soreness.
- Grade 2 — This is more significant tearing, generally to the superficial part of the ligament. Your knee will be slightly unstable, and your joint may 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 fibrous and deep parts. You will likely feel like your knee’s about to buckle. 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 Festus, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, alongside your doctor, develop a comprehensive and customized plan to get you back to the activities your love most without incurring further injury.
What Causes MCL Injuries?
Ligament injuries account for 40% of all knee injuries, and most of the time that ligament is the MCL. People often suffer and MCL injury because of the knee suddenly being forced too far inward. MCL injuries can also occur if the knee is rotated more than the ligament can support. They can also occur because of landing or excessive bending, such as if a cleat is stuck in grass while you’re moving.
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 MCL injuries are accompanied by sudden, noticeable pain. Other symptoms may include:
- A sudden “pop” on the inside of your knee
- The knee being unstable
- Inability to bear weight
- Tenderness where the MCL is located
- Inflammation, either on the inside of the knee or the entire knee joint
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, stop any strenuous activity immediately and schedule a physical examination in order to get a diagnosis.
Diagnosing and Treating an MCL Injury in Festus, MO
MCL injuries are diagnosed in a physical examination. In the examination, your Festus, 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 check for stability.
Most physical therapists or physicians that specialize in mobility of the human body in Festus, MO are qualified to determine if you have an MCL injury with a physical examination. 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 take detailed images of your soft tissue
- 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, to insure your femur, patella, tibia, and fibula have not fractured
Axes Physical Therapy also offers injury screening injury screenings at no cost or obligation to you. While we can determine if you have suffered an MCL sprain or tear, Missouri law stipulates a prescription for further physical therapy.
How MCL Injuries are Treated in Festus, MO
Typically, treating an MCL injury begins with basic first aid: swelling reduction, reducing discomfort, and using 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 a few days or week or two of rest may be enough for your body’s natural healing processes to get you back on your feet.
Professional physical therapy is needed for more severe injuries to restore strength and optimal range of motion and get you 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 Festus, MO can 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. During the surgery, a surgeon will use 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 to make your surgery and recovery as successful as possible.
How Do Physical Therapists in Festus, MO Treat MCL Injuries?
The aim of physical therapy, when dealing with any injury, is to create safe and evidence-backed treatments, 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 ligaments and tendons, and range of motion to the knee so you can get back to what you love most and prevent further injury. 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 regain strength
- Exercises with elastic bands, weights, or cardio machines such as a stationary bike
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, which studies show can accelerate knee ligament healing
- Kinesio Taping®, which keeps the knee stable and encourages normal 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 lessening stress on the joint
- Athletic training and sports therapy for those whose main goal is to get back onto the court or field
At Axes Physical Therapy in Festus, 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 get you the best patient outcome possible and get you back to the activities you love.
Other injuries we help treat in Festus, 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 Festus, 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 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 Festus, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.