MCL Injury | Innsbrook, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Innsbrook, MO. For many people who maintain an active lifestyle, feeling that sudden “pop” in their knee creates a lot of doubts: Did I injure my MCL? How bad is the injury? How long will it take to recover? Will I ever be able to perform at the same level again? At Axes Physical Therapy in Innsbrook, MO, all of our physical and occupational therapists are dedicated to getting our patients back to the physical lifestyles they’ve grown to love. While we’d like to be able to make your MCL injury go away, we can help ensure you get back to feeling like yourself with safe, evidence-backed treatments. Physical therapy has been shown time and time again to be a fundamental component of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in Innsbrook, MO are movement health experts. For treatment plans you know will be effective, call the Axes location nearest you or request an appointment online.
The Anatomy of the MCL
MCL an acronym for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is like a strong, firmly attached rope that affixes bones to each other and keeps joints stable. The MCL runs from the inside of your upper shin bone to the inside of your bottoms thigh bone and helps keep your knee stable and functioning normally. Its primary purpose is 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 runs down the center of your knee and controls rotation and prevents the knee from bending inward
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which forms an “X” with the ACL inside the knee and controls backward movement
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which runs along the outside of the knee from the thigh bone to the fibula (the smaller bone between the knee and ankle) and gives stability to the outer knee
The knee is known for being one of our most complex joints. Healthy structure and movement depends on surrounding bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. When any knee injury, such as an MCL tear, occurs it can have tremendous consequences for your mobility and pursue the activities you love most, or just live a pain-free day-to-day life. Particular physical therapy techniques and other treatment modalities, prescribed by a doctor, have been demonstrated through research and studies to help those who have suffered an MCL injury reduce pain and get back to optimal mobility.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
Generally speaking, an MCL injury is either a sprain, which stretches the ligament farther than is naturally, or a tear, where the MCL may fray partially or entirely separate from the bone. MCL injuries are “graded” in three levels:
- 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. These injuries are typically not especially painful or debilitating, and your knee largely remains stable. You will likely experience some tenderness and mild pain.
- Grade 2 — This is more significant tearing, usually to the middle layer of the MCL. Your knee will be slightly unstable, and your joint may be loose when manipulated manually. Symptoms of a grade 2 MCL injury generally include much more noticeable pain.
- Grade 3 — A grade 3 tear is a complete tear, or separation from the bone. Your knee will be significantly unstable. Pain will be intense and you’ll likely feel several other symptoms. The injury may actually caused by or accompanied by other serious knee injuries such as ACL tears.
However significant your MCL injuries, the team of professional Innsbrook, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, in concert with your physician, develop an exhaustive and personalized plan to get you back to the activities your love most safely.
MCL Injuries: Causes and Symptoms
Ligament injuries account for 40% of all knee injuries, and the MCL is the most commonly injured ligament. 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 awkward bending, such as if your foot stays in one place while you’re moving.
MCL injuries are common in athletes in contact sports and in athletic events that require a lot of cutting and jumping such as football, soccer, skiing, basketball, and tennis. 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
If you suffer an MCL injury in Innsbrook, MO, you’ll likely notice the pain right away. Other symptoms may include:
- A sudden “pop” on the inside of your knee
- The knee being unstable
- Pain or discomfort when trying to bear weight
- Tenderness along the inside of the joint
- Swelling, either where the MCL is located or the whole knee
Sometimes you may feel like your knee is “shaky”, while other times the knee feels too rigid. If you suspect you may have suffered an MCL injury, cease any strenuous activity immediately and seek medical treatment for a diagnosis.
Diagnosing and Treating an MCL Injury in Innsbrook, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a physical examination. In the examination, your Innsbrook, MO doctor or physical therapist will go over how the injury occurred, will feel for swelling and how your knee is different from your healthy knee, and gently see if your knee is unstanble while bending inward, and your pain level.
Most physical therapists or doctors with knowledge of movement health in Innsbrook, MO will be able to determine if you have 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 magnetic field and computer-generated radio waves to take three-dimensional images of the knee joint
- An ultrasound, which uses sound waves and can help determine how severely the MCL 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
Alternatively, you can schedule and appointment with the Axes location nearest you for a free, no-obligation injury screening. While we can determine if you have suffered an MCL sprain or tear, Missouri law requires a prescription for further physical therapy.
How to Treat and MCL Injury in Innsbrook, MO
The initial treatment of an MCL injury consists of basic first aid: reducing swelling, reducing pain, and using the R.I.C.E. Method of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. For mild injuries, the R.I.C.E method, over-the-counter pain relievers, and a few days or week or two of rest may be all you need to get mostly back to normal.
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 to refrain from rigorous until your knee is strong again. Your Axes physical therapist in Innsbrook, MO can fit you for a knee brace to give your knee stability while it’s 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. During the surgery, a surgeon will use a graft, either from one of your other ligaments or from another person, to reattach the torn sections. You would not have to be hospitalized overnight. If you do require surgery in Innsbrook, MO, our physical therapists will be able to treat you with pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation get you the best possible results from your surgery.
How Can Physical Therapy in Innsbrook, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
For recovering from any injury, a physically therapist will create safe, targeted, and evidence-backed treatment methods based on each patient’s specific injury and the lifestyle they want to get back to. These treatments and exercises will, over time, build strength in the strength in the muscles that power the joint, flexibility of soft tissue, and range of motion to the knee in the interest of not only recovery, but injury prevention. A physical therapist may recommend and implement the following practices:
- To begin, passive motions 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 resistant bands, weights, 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 lifting lighter loads
- Athletic training and sports therapy for those whose main goal is to get back onto the court or field
At Axes Physical Therapy in Innsbrook, MO, all of our treatment plans are designed specifically for you, proven through peer-reviewed research, 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 Innsbrook, 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 Innsbrook, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury is scary and anxiety-inducing at first, especially if you’re an athlete or someone who finds joy in an active lifestyle, 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 Innsbrook, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.