MCL Injury | Hoene Spring, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Hoene Spring, MO. For many athletes and physically active people, it’s easy to fear the worst when you hear that sudden “pop” in your knee: 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 Hoene Spring, MO, we are driven by getting our patients back to the physical lifestyles they’ve grown to love. While we’d like to be able to magically fix your MCL, we can make your recovery safe and effective through tailored, proven treatment plans. Physical therapy has been shown time and time again to be a fundamental aspect of any treatment plan for MCL injuries. Our physical therapists in Hoene Spring, MO specialize helping a variety of injuries and conditions in the musculoskeletal system heal. For treatment plans you know will be effective, reach out to the Axes location most convenient for you you or schedule an appointment online.
What is the MCL?
MCL an acronym for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is like a strong, firmly attached rope that connects bone to bone and helps hold structures with the body 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 functions to guard against valgus pressure, or the knee being forced too far towards the other one. It is one of four ligaments that help keep the knee stable, along with the:
- 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 crosses the ACL in the middle of the knee and keeps the shinbone from sliding back too far
- 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 unnaturally outward
The knee is known for being one of our most complex joints. Healthy structure and movement depends on surrounding bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. There are countless knee injuries that can have tremendous consequences for your mobility and ability to do what you love most, or just live a pain-free day-to-day life. Specific physical therapy techniques and other treatment modalities, prescribed by a doctor, have been demonstrated through research and studies to help patients manage their symptoms and get back to normal functionality.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
For all intents and purposes, an MCL injury is either a sprain, wherein the MCL extends farther than is naturally, or a tear, where the ligament 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. These injuries are typically not especially painful or debilitating, and your knee will still be stable. Your knee will feel tender, and you may also experience soreness.
- Grade 2 — This injury is when the MCL suffers more significant tearing, usually to the superficial part of the ligament. You will probably lose some stability in your knee, and your joint may be loose when moved by hand. A grade 2 injury will result in significantly more pain than 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. You will likely feel significant pain and a wide array of symptoms. Grade 3 MCL injuries often occur alongside other knee injuries such as ACL tears.
However significant your MCL injuries, our expert Hoene Spring, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, as a team with your doctor, implement a comprehensive plan specially made for you and your injuries to get you back to the things you love without incurring further injury.
What Causes MCL Injuries?
40% of all knee injuries involve damage to the MCL, LCL, ACL, or PCL, 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 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 your leg keeps moving.
Athletes in contact sports are the most likely to sustain an MCL injury. They are also common in those who lift weights or lift heavy objects at their employment.
Common Symptoms of MCL Injuries
Most people feel pain immediately on the inside of the joint when they experience an MCL sprain or tear. Other symptoms may include:
- Hearing or feeling a popping noise or sensation
- Feeling like the may give out
- Inability to bear weight
- Tenderness on the inside of your knee
- Swelling, either on the inside of the knee or the whole knee
Sometimes you may feel a “wobbly” sensation, or in other cases you’ll barely be able to move the knee. 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 Hoene Spring, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a doctor’s office, urgent care or at a physical therapy center. The examination will usually start with a doctor or physical therapist in Hoene Spring, MO asking how the injury occurred. They’ll then bend your knee and apply slight pressure to the outside of it, noting how much pain you are in and whether or not your knee is unstable. They’ll also gently feel for swelling, and may compare your injured knee to the healthy one.
Most physical therapists or physicians that specialize in mobility of the human body in Hoene Spring, MO are qualified to determine if you have an MCL injury with the above procedures. 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 radio waves to take three-dimensional images of the knee joint
- An ultrasound, which uses sound waves and can help determine how severely the ligament 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 visit the Axes location most convenient for you for a complimentary, no-risk injury screening. While we can offer you an evaluation, Missouri law mandates that physical therapy be prescribed by a doctor.
How MCL Injuries are Treated in Hoene Spring, MO
Typically, treating an MCL injury begins with basic first aid: reducing swelling, easing discomfort, and using the R.I.C.E. Method of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. For grade 1 injuries, the R.I.C.E method, over-the-counter pain relievers, and some time spent resting may be all you need for your body to heal itself.
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 resting to allow your body to heal safely. Your Axes physical therapist in Hoene Spring, MO can fit you for a knee brace in order to prevent your knee from bending too far inward while your MCL is still healing. With physical therapy, you’ll still continue icing your knee and taking anti-inflammatory pain medication.
Surgery is typically only needed with severe grade 1 MCL injuries, or if the MCL tear is accompanied by an ACL tear or other damage to the joint. The surgery is carried out by using a graft, either from one of your other ligaments or an organ donor, to reconstruct the ligament. 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 Hoene Spring, 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 regain a specific level or function. Physical therapy slowly and effectively improves strength in the strength in the muscles that power the knee, 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:
- To begin, passive movements carried about by your physical therapist to slowly get the knee used to normal motion again
- 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 provides further stability while your body heals and encourages normal motion
- Trigger point dry needling to stimulate harder-to-reach tissue
- Blood flow restriction training to improve strength while lifting lighter weights
- Athletic training and sports therapy for athletes who want to improve their performance
At Axes Physical Therapy in Hoene Spring, MO, all of our treatment plans are as unique as each patient, and created alongside your physician, 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 Hoene Spring, 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 Hoene Spring, 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 you place a lot of trust in your physical therapists, so the treatment method we plan for you will be safe and 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 Hoene Spring, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.