MCL Injury | House Springs, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in House Springs, MO. For many athletes and physically active people, feeling that sudden “pop” in their knee creates a lot of doubts: Did I suffer an MCL injury? How bad is the injury? How long will it take to recover? Will my knee ever be the same again? At Axes Physical Therapy in House Springs, MO, all of our physical and occupational therapists are dedicated to getting our clients back to the activities they love most. While we’d like to be able to magically fix your MCL, we can make your recovery safe and effective through tailored, evidence-based treatment plans. Physical therapy has been shown time and time again to be an essential aspect of any treatment plan for MCL injuries. Our physical therapists in House Springs, MO are all licensed and average more than 15 years of individual experience. For lasting and meaningful recovery, reach out to the Axes location nearest you or request an appointment online.
How the MCL Works
MCL an acronym for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a tough band of connective tissue that affixes bone to bone and helps hold structures with the musculoskeletal system 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 stress, or the knee being forced too far towards the other one. 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 controls forward movement
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which crosses the ACL inside the knee and prevents excessive posterior translation of the tibia relative to the femur
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which connects the thigh bone to the fibula (the smaller bone the small bone behind the tibia) and helps keep the outer side of your knee joint stable
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 countless knee injuries that can limit or completely restrict your mobility and pursue the activities you love most, or just complete basic tasks pain-free. Certain physical therapy techniques and other treatment modalities, prescribed by a doctor, have been demonstrated through evidence to help those who have suffered an MCL injury mitigate pain and swelling and get back to normal mobility.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
In general, an MCL injury either involves a sprain, wherein the MCL extends beyond its normal limits, or a tear, where the ligament may fray partially or entirely separate from the bone. There are three grades to MCL injuries:
- Grade 1 — A grade 1 MCL injury refers to a sprain, or a tear where less than 10% of the the fibers in your ligament are torn. It’s typically a mild injury, and your knee will still be stable. Symptoms will likely be tenderness and mild pain.
- Grade 2 — This injury is when the MCL suffers more significant tearing, usually to the more fibrous part of the MCL. Your knee will be slightly unstable, and your joint may be loose when manipulated manually. Pain is much more severe in a grade 2 MCL injury.
- Grade 3 — A grade 3 tear is a complete tear, or separation from the bone. You will retain little to no stability. Pain will be intense and you’ll likely feel 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, the team of expert House Springs, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, in concert with your doctor, create an exhaustive and tailored 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 most of the time that ligament is the MCL. MCL injuries occur due to the knee suddenly being forced too far inward. MCL injuries can also occur if the knee is rotated too forcefully. They can also occur because of landing or awkward bending, such as if your foot stays in one place while your leg keeps moving.
MCL injuries are common in athletes in contact sports and in athletic events that require a lot of sudden movement such as football, soccer, skiing, basketball, and tennis. They can also occur in people who have to squat and lift heavy objects, either for athletic training or in the course of their employment.
Common Symptoms of MCL Injuries
If you suffer an MCL injury in House Springs, MO, you’ll likely notice the pain right away. Other symptoms may include:
- A sudden “pop” on the inside of your knee
- Not being able to put any weight on the knee
- Tenderness on the inside of your knee
- Inflammation, either of the MCL area or the entire knee joint
Sometimes you may feel a “wobbly” sensation, while other times you’ll barely be able to move the knee. Any time you feel pain or instability in your knee, do not participate in any more strenuous activity and schedule a physical examination in order to get a diagnosis.
Diagnosing and Treating an MCL Injury in House Springs, MO
MCL injuries are diagnosed in a doctor’s office, emergency room or at a physical therapy center. In the examination, your House Springs, MO doctor or physical therapist will go over what led to the injury, will feel for swelling and how your knee is different from your healthy knee, and perform a valgus stress test.
Most physical therapists or doctors with knowledge of movement health in House Springs, 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 magnetic field and computer-generated radio waves to take three-dimensional images of the inside of your knee
- 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, may be ordered for a severe MCL injury to ensure there are no broken bones
You can also schedule and appointment with the Axes location most convenient for you for a free, no-risk injury screening. While we can offer you an evaluation, Missouri law stipulates a prescription in order to officially begin physical therapy treatment.
How MCL Injuries are Treated in House Springs, MO
The initial treatment of an MCL injury consists of basic first aid: reducing swelling, reducing discomfort, and implementing 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 a few days or week or two of rest may be sufficient 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 resting to allow your body to heal safely. Your Axes physical therapist in House Springs, 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 anti-inflammatory 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 knee. The surgery is carried out by using a graft, either from one of your other ligaments or from another person, to reconstruct the MCL. You would not have to be hospitalized overnight. 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 Can Physical Therapy in House Springs, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
The aim of physical therapy, when dealing with any injury, is to design safe, targeted, and evidence-backed treatment methods based on each patient as an individual. Physical therapy slowly and effectively improves strength in the surrounding muscles, 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. Depending on you and your injuries, your treatment plan may include:
- At the start, passive motions performed by your physical therapist to help restore normal functionality
- Exercised performed by you later to regain strength
- Exercises with resistant 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 help you make greater strength gains while lifting lighter weights
- Athletic training and sports therapy for those whose main goal is to get back onto the court or field
At Axes Physical Therapy in House Springs, 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 deliver you the best client experience and get you back to doing what you love to do most.
Other services we offer in House Springs, MO include:
Schedule an Appointment With an Axes Physical Therapist in House Springs, 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 there’s no reason it has to put you on the sideline forever. We know our clients trust us with their recovery, 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 House Springs, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.