MCL Injury | Hopewell, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Hopewell, MO. If someone plays sports or engages in other physical activity, it’s easy to fear the worst when you feel sudden pain on the inside of your knee: Did I injure my MCL? How bad is the injury? How long will it take to recover? Will I have to permanently give up the things I love doing? At Axes Physical Therapy in Hopewell, MO, we are driven by getting our patients back to the activities they love most. While we can’t, we can make your recovery safe and effective through personalized, proven treatment plans. Physical therapy has proven to be a fundamental component of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in Hopewell, MO are movement health experts. For treatment plans you know will be effective, call the Axes location nearest you or contact us online.
How the MCL Works
MCL stands for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a fibrous of connective tissue that affixes bone to bone and keeps joints stable. 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 resist valgus stress, or the knee being pushed too far 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 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 controls backward movement
- 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 gives stability to the outer knee
The knee is one of the biggest 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 a variety of knee injuries that can limit or completely restrict your mobility and ability to do what you love most, or just live a pain-free day-to-day life. Certain physical therapy techniques and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been demonstrated through research and analysis to help those who have suffered an MCL injury reduce pain and return to optimal functionality.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
For all intents and purposes, an MCL injury either involves a sprain, wherein the MCL extends beyond its normal range of motion, 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 are not generally severe, and your knee largely remains stable. You will likely experience some tenderness and some soreness.
- Grade 2 — This injury is when the MCL suffers more significant tearing, usually to the more fibrous part of the ligament. Your knee will be slightly unstable, and the knee will likely be loose when moved by hand. A grade 2 injury will result in significantly more pain than a grade 2 MCL injury.
- Grade 3 — This injury is a complete tear to both the fibrous and deep parts. You will retain little to no stability. You will likely feel intense pain and a wide array of symptoms. Grade 3 MCL injuries often occur alongside other knee injuries such as ACL tears.
Whatever grade MCL injury you have, our licensed Hopewell, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, along with your physician, develop an extensive plan uniquely made for you and your injuries aimed at returning you to the life you’re used to safely.
What Causes MCL Injuries?
40% of all knee injuries involve damage to the MCL, LCL, ACL, or PCL, and the MCL is the most commonly injured ligament. Most MCL injuries occur due to a blow to the outer edge of the knee. MCL injuries can also occur if the knee is rotated more than the ligament can stand. They can also happen because of landing or awkward 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
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 sound or sensation
- The knee being unstable
- Inability to bear weight
- Tenderness along the inside of the joint
- Inflammation, either where the MCL is located or the entire knee joint
Sometimes you may feel a “wobbly” sensation, while other times 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 seek medical treatment for a diagnosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of an MCL Injury in Hopewell, MO
MCL injuries are diagnosed in a doctor’s office, urgent care or at a physical therapy center. The exam will usually start with a doctor or physical therapist in Hopewell, 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 doctors with knowledge of movement health in Hopewell, MO will be able 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 magnet and computer-generated radio waves to create detailed images of the knee joint
- 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, 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 Revised Statute §334.506 mandates a prescription in order to officially begin physical therapy treatment.
How to Treat and MCL Injury in Hopewell, MO
The initial treatment of an MCL injury consists of basic first aid: inflammation reduction, managing pain, and utilizing the R.I.C.E. Method of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. For grade 1 injuries, the R.I.C.E method, pain and swelling relievers, and a few days or week or two of rest may be enough to get mostly back to normal.
Professional physical therapy is needed for more severe injuries 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 time off your feet to allow your body to heal safely. Your Axes physical therapist in Hopewell, MO can 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 most severe cases — 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. During the surgery, a surgeon will use a graft, either from your hamstring or from another person, 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 specialize in pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation get you the best possible results from your surgery.
How Can Physical Therapy in Hopewell, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
The aim of physical therapy, when dealing with any injury, is to implement safe, targeted, and evidence-backed treatment methods based on each patient’s specific injury and the lifestyle they want to get back to. Physical therapy slowly and effectively improves strength in the surrounding muscles, flexibility of ligaments and tendons, 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:
- To begin, passive movements performed by your physical therapist to slowly get the ligament used to normal motion again
- More active exercises and stretches 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 stimulate harder-to-reach tissue
- 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 Hopewell, MO, all of our treatment plans are as unique as each patient, and created with the help of your physician, in order to get you the best patient outcome possible and get you back to doing what you love to do most.
Other conditions we help treat in Hopewell, 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 Hopewell, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury is scary and anxiety-inducing at first, especially if you’re used to being physically active, 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 Hopewell, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.