MCL Injury | Foristell, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Foristell, MO. For many people who maintain an active lifestyle, 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 I ever be able to perform at the same level again? At Axes Physical Therapy in Foristell, MO, all of our physical and occupational therapists are dedicated to getting our clients back to the physical lifestyles they’ve grown to love. While we’d like to be able to magically fix your MCL, we can help ensure you get back to feeling like yourself with safe, effective treatments. Physical therapy has proven to be an essential part of any treatment plan for MCL injuries. Our physical therapists in Foristell, MO are movement health experts. For treatment plans you know will be effective, reach out to the Axes location most convenient for you 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 affixes 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 helps keep your knee stable and functioning normally. Its primary purpose is to guard against valgus stress, or the knee being pushed unnaturally towards the other one. It is one of four ligaments that help control the knee, along with the:
- ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), which runs down the center 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 the femur from sliding off the tibia
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which runs along the outside of the knee from the femur to the fibula (the smaller bone between the knee and ankle) 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 stability and function properly. There are countless knee injuries that can greatly affect your mobility and compete like you’re used to, or just complete basic tasks pain-free. Certain physical therapy techniques and other treatment modalities, prescribed by a doctor, have been demonstrated through research and analysis to help patients mitigate pain and swelling and return to normal mobility.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
Generally speaking, an MCL injury is either a sprain, wherein the MCL extends beyond its normal range of motion, 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 MCL injury refers to a sprain, or a tear where less than 10% of the MCL has been torn. These are not generally severe, 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 MCL. 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 fibrous and deep parts. You will retain little to no stability. 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 qualified Foristell, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, in concert with your doctor, develop an exhaustive and customized 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. 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 stand. They can also take place when landing or unnatural bending, such as if your foot stays in one place while your leg keeps 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 employment.
Common Symptoms of MCL Injuries
If you suffer an MCL injury in Foristell, MO, you’ll likely notice the pain right away. Other symptoms may include:
- Hearing or feeling a popping sound or feeling
- Feeling like the may buckle
- Pain or discomfort when trying to bear weight
- Tenderness where the MCL is located
- Inflammation, either where the MCL is located or the whole knee
Sometimes you may feel a “wobbly” sensation, or in other cases you’ll barely be able to move the knee. Any time you feel pain or instability in your knee, stop any strenuous activity immediately and schedule a physical examination in order to get a diagnosis.
Diagnosing and Treating an MCL Injury in Foristell, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a physical examination. In the examination, your Foristell, 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 the musculoskeletal system in Foristell, 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 magnetic field and computer-generated radio waves to create three-dimensional 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 does not show soft tissue, may be ordered for a severe MCL injury to ensure there are no broken bones
You can also come to the Axes location most convenient for you for a complimentary, no-risk injury screening. While we can determine if you have suffered an MCL injury, Missouri Revised Statute §334.506 mandates that physical therapy be prescribed by a physician.
How to Treat and MCL Injury in Foristell, MO
The initial treatment of an MCL injury consists of basic first aid: reducing swelling, 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, pain and swelling relievers, and some time with limited activity may be sufficient to get mostly back to normal.
Grade 2 or 3 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 to refrain from strenuous activity for an even longer period. Your Axes physical therapist in Foristell, MO will be able to fit you for a knee brace so that you don’t suffer further injury. 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 reconstruct the ligament. The surgery is an outpatient procedure. If your doctor thinks surgery is necessary, our physical therapists will be able to help you with pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation get you the best possible results from your surgery.
How Do Physical Therapists in Foristell, MO Treat MCL Injuries?
For recovering from any injury, a physically therapist will implement safe and evidence-backed treatments, 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 joint so you can get back to what you love most and prevent further injury. A physical therapist may recommend and implement the following practices:
- At the start, light motions performed by your physical therapist to help restore normal functionality
- 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 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 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 Foristell, MO, all of our treatment plans are designed individually to each patient, backed by empirical evidence, and created in concert with your doctor, in order to get you the best patient outcome possible and get you back to doing what you love to do most.
Other services we offer in Foristell, 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 Foristell, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury can be painful and frightening, especially if you’re an athlete or someone who finds joy in an active lifestyle, but there’s no reason it has to put you on the sideline forever. 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 Foristell, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.