MCL Injury | Imperial, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Imperial, MO. For many people who maintain an active lifestyle, it’s easy to fear the worst when you feel sudden pain on the inside of your knee: Did I suffer an MCL injury? Is it significant? How long will it take to recover? Will I ever be able to perform at the same level again? At Axes Physical Therapy in Imperial, MO, all of our physical and occupational therapists are dedicated to getting our patients back to tearing up the filed. While we can’t, we can help ensure you get back to feeling like yourself with safe, effective treatments. 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 Imperial, MO specialize helping a variety of injuries and conditions in the musculoskeletal system heal. For lasting and meaningful recovery, call the Axes location nearest you or request 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 provides stability. The MCL runs from the inside of your upper shin bone to the inside of your bottoms thigh bone and keeps the knee from moving side to side. Its main purpose is to resist valgus pressure, or the knee being forced 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 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 acts as a secondary front and back stabilizer
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which attaches the femur to the fibula (the smaller bone in the lower leg) and gives stability to the outer knee
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. When any knee injury, such as an MCL tear, occurs it can have tremendous consequences for your mobility and ability to do what you love most, or just complete basic tasks pain-free. Particular physical therapy exercises and other treatment modalities, prescribed by a doctor, have been proven to help patients mitigate pain and swelling and get back to normal functionality.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
In general, an MCL injury is either a sprain, which stretches the ligament beyond its normal range of motion, or a tear, where the MCL may fray partially or entirely separate from the bone. MCL injuries are “graded” in three tiers:
- Grade 1 — A grade 1 sprain or tear means that the ligament has been stretched, and less than 10% of the MCL has been torn. It’s typically a mild injury, and don’t result in much instability. Your knee will feel tender, and you may also experience mild pain.
- Grade 2 — This is more significant tearing, most commonly to the middle layer of the MCL. You will probably lose some stability in your knee, and the knee will likely be loose when moved by hand. Pain is much more severe in a grade 2 MCL injury.
- Grade 3 — This occurs when your MCL is entirely torn, both the superficial and deep parts. You will retain little to no stability. 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, the team of professional Imperial, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, alongside your doctor, develop an exhaustive and customized plan to get you back to the activities your love most without incurring further injury.
MCL Injuries: Causes and Symptoms
Ligament injuries account for 40% of all knee injuries, and most of the time that ligament is the MCL. People often suffer and MCL injury because of the knee suddenly being forced too far inward. MCL injuries can also occur if the knee is rotated too forcefully. They can also take place when landing or excessive bending, such as if your foot stays in one place while the rest of your body moves.
Athletes in contact sports are the most likely to sustain an MCL injury. They are also common in those 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 MCL injuries are accompanied by immediate, noticeable pain. Other symptoms may include:
- Hearing or feeling a popping noise or sensation
- Pain or discomfort when trying to bear weight
- Tenderness on the inside of your knee
- Swelling, either of the MCL area or the entire knee joint
Sometimes you may feel a “wobbly” sensation, or in other cases the knee feels too rigid. If you suspect you may have suffered an MCL injury, 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 Imperial, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a doctor’s office, emergency room or at a physical therapy center. In the examination, your Imperial, 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 that specialize in the musculoskeletal system in Imperial, MO will be able to diagnose 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 magnet and radio waves to produce three-dimensional images of the inside of your knee
- 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, 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 stipulates that physical therapy be prescribed by a physician.
How MCL Injuries are Treated in Imperial, MO
The initial treatment of an MCL injury consists of basic first aid: reducing swelling, easing pain, and implementing 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 a few days or week or two of rest may be sufficient 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 off your feet to allow your body to heal safely. Your Axes physical therapist in Imperial, MO will be able to fit you for a knee brace to give your knee stability while it’s healing. Even with physical therapy, you’ll likely still continue the R.I.C.E. method and anti-inflammatory medication.
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. During the surgery, a surgeon will use a graft, either from your hamstring or an organ donor, to reattach the torn sections. You would not have to be hospitalized overnight. If you do require surgery in Imperial, MO, our physical therapists are experts at pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation get you the best possible results from your surgery.
How Do Physical Therapists in Imperial, MO Treat MCL Injuries?
The aim of physical therapy, when dealing with any injury, is to 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 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:
- To begin, passive motions performed 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 treadmill
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, which has been proven to help 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 those whose main goal is to get back onto the court or field
At Axes Physical Therapy in Imperial, MO, all of our treatment plans are as unique as each patient, and created with the help of your physician, 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 Imperial, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Imperial, 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 our clients trust us with their recovery, 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 Imperial, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.