MCL Injury | Horine, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Horine, 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 injure my MCL? How bad is the injury? How long will I be sidelines for? Will my knee ever be the same again? At Axes Physical Therapy in Horine, MO, we are driven by positive patient outcomes. While we can’t, we can help ensure you get back to feeling like yourself with safe, effective treatments. Physical therapy has proven to be a critical part of any treatment plan for MCL injuries. Our physical therapists in Horine, 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 nearest you or contact us online.
What is the MCL?
MCL an acronym for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a fibrous of connective tissue that connects bones to each other and keeps joints stable. 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 functions to withstand valgus stress, or the knee being pushed unnaturally towards the other one. It is one of four ligaments in the knee, along with the:
- ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), which runs down the center of your knee and controls rotation and prevents the tibia from sliding too far forward on the femur
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which crosses 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 in the lower leg) and prevents the knee from being forced unnaturally outward
The knee is one of the largest 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 have tremendous consequences for your mobility and compete like you’re used to, or just complete basic tasks pain-free. Particular physical therapy techniques and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been demonstrated through research and studies to help those who have suffered an MCL injury mitigate pain and swelling 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 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 will still be stable. Your knee will feel tender, and you may also experience soreness.
- Grade 2 — This is a more moderate tear, most commonly to the more fibrous part of the ligament. You will probably lose some stability in the joint, and your joint may be loose when manipulated manually. 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 superficial and deep parts. You will retain little to no stability. You will likely feel significant pain and several other symptoms. The injury may actually caused by or accompanied by other serious knee injuries such as ACL tears.
Whatever grade MCL injury you have, our expert Horine, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, as a team with your physician, implement an extensive and personalized plan to get you back to the activities your love most in a safe and effective manner.
MCL Injuries: Causes and Symptoms
40% of all knee injuries involve damage to a ligament, and the MCL is the most commonly injured ligament. Most MCL injuries occur due to physical trauma on the outside of the knee. MCL injuries can also by the knee rotating too forcefully. 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 can also occur in people who have to hunch over and lift heavy objects, either for athletic training or in the course of 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
- Pain or discomfort when trying to bear weight
- Tenderness where the MCL is located
- Inflammation, either of the MCL area or the entire knee joint
Sometimes you may feel like your knee is “shaky”, or in other cases the knee feels too rigid. Any time you feel pain or instability in your knee, cease any strenuous activity immediately and seek medical treatment for a diagnosis.
Diagnosing and Treating an MCL Injury in Horine, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a physical examination. The examination will usually start with a doctor or physical therapist in Horine, 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 that specialize in mobility of the human body in Horine, MO are qualified to diagnose 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 radio waves to create three-dimensional images of the knee joint
- An ultrasound, which uses sound waves and can help determine the grade of your injury
- An X-ray, which does not show soft tissue, may be ordered for a severe MCL injury to ensure there are no broken bones
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 mandates a prescription in order to officially begin physical therapy treatment.
How to Treat and MCL Injury in Horine, MO
Right after your MCL injury, you should start with basic first aid: swelling reduction, easing pain, and implementing 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 some time spent off your feet may be all you need to get mostly back to normal.
Professional physical therapy is needed for more severe injuries to restore strength and function and get you back to racing down or around the court or field. You’ll also need to refrain from strenuous until your knee is strong again. Your Axes physical therapist in Horine, MO will be able to fit you for a knee brace so that you don’t suffer further injury. 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 structures of the knee. The surgery is performed by using a graft, either from your hamstring or from another person, to reconstruct the MCL. The surgery is an outpatient procedure. If you do require surgery in Horine, MO, 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 Horine, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
For recovering from any injury, a physically therapist will implement safe and evidence-backed exercises, 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 ligaments and tendons, and range of motion to the joint so you can get back to what you love most and prevent further injury. Depending on you and your injuries, your treatment plan may include:
- At the start, light movements performed by your physical therapist to slowly get the joint used to normal motion again
- Exercised performed by you later to regain strength
- Exercises with elastic bands, weight lifting equipment, or cardio machines such as an elliptical
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, which research suggests can accelerate knee ligament healing
- Kinesio Taping®, which keeps the knee stable 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 lessening stress on the joint
- Athletic training and sports therapy for athletes who want to reduce the risk of reinjury
At Axes Physical Therapy in Horine, MO, all of our treatment plans are designed individually to each patient, proven through peer-reviewed research, and created in concert with your doctor, in order to get you the best patient outcome possible and get you back to the activities you love.
Other conditions we help treat in Horine, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Horine, 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. As part of our program, we’ll educate you on your injury and the anatomy of the knee so you can stay as healthy and active as possible. For meaningful and lasting recovery from your MCL injury in Horine, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.