MCL Injury | Jefferson Barracks, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Jefferson Barracks, MO. For many athletes and physically active people, feeling that sudden “pop” in their knee creates a lot of anxiety: Did I suffer an MCL injury? Is it significant? How long will I be sidelines for? Will this be the end of my athletic career? At Axes Physical Therapy in Jefferson Barracks, MO, we are driven by positive patient experiences. While we’d like to be able to make your MCL injury go away, 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 a critical aspect of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in Jefferson Barracks, MO specialize helping a variety of injuries and conditions in the musculoskeletal system heal. For treatment plans you know will be effective, call the Axes location most convenient for you you or schedule an appointment online.
How the MCL Works
MCL is an abbreviation for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is like a strong, firmly attached rope that affixes bones to each other and provides stability. 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 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 goes through the middle of your knee and provides rotational stability 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 acts as a secondary front and back stabilizer
- 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 helps keep the outer side of your knee joint stable
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 support and function properly. 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 get around the house pain-free. Certain physical therapy exercises and other treatment modalities, prescribed by a doctor, have been demonstrated through research and analysis to help those who have suffered an MCL injury reduce pain and return to optimal mobility.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
For all intents and purposes, an MCL injury is either a sprain, wherein the MCL is stretched beyond its normal range of motion, 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 MCL are torn. It’s typically a mild injury, and don’t result in much instability. Your knee will feel tender, and you may also experience soreness.
- Grade 2 — This is a more moderate tear, usually to the superficial part of the ligament. You will probably lose some stability in the joint, and the knee will likely be loose when manipulated manually. A grade 2 injury will result in significantly more pain than 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. 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.
Whatever grade MCL injury you have, the team of expert Jefferson Barracks, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, as a team with your doctor, create an extensive plan uniquely made for you and your injuries to get you back to the activities your love most safely.
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. 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 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 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 Jefferson Barracks, MO, you’ll probably notice the pain right away. Other symptoms may include:
- A sudden “pop” on the inside of your knee
- Feeling like the may give out
- Not being able to put any weight on the knee
- Tenderness where the MCL is located
- 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. Any time you feel pain or instability in your knee, cease any strenuous activity immediately and seek medical treatment for a diagnosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of an MCL Injury in Jefferson Barracks, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a physical examination. In the examination, your Jefferson Barracks, 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 physicians that specialize in the musculoskeletal system in Jefferson Barracks, MO are qualified 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 computer-generated radio waves to take detailed images of the knee joint
- An ultrasound, which uses sound waves and can help determine the grade 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 can offer you an evaluation, Missouri Revised Statute §334.506 requires that physical therapy be prescribed by a physician.
Treating an MCL Injury in Jefferson Barracks, MO
Right after your MCL injury, you should start with basic first aid: reducing swelling, reducing pain, and utilizing 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 resting may be enough for your body to heal itself.
Professional physical therapy is needed for grade 2 and 3 injuries to restore strength and function and get you back to racing down or around the court or field. You’ll also need time resting to allow your body to heal safely. Your Axes physical therapist in Jefferson Barracks, 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 over-the-counter meds.
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. During the surgery, a surgeon will use a graft, either from one of your other ligaments or an organ donor, to reattach the torn sections. The surgery is an outpatient procedure. If your doctor thinks surgery is necessary, 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 Jefferson Barracks, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
The objective of physical therapy, when dealing with any injury, is to design 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 strength in the muscles that power the knee, flexibility of ligaments and tendons, and range of motion to the joint in the interest of not only recovery, but injury prevention. Depending on you and your injuries, your treatment plan may include:
- At the start, light movements carried about by your physical therapist to slowly get the knee used to normal motion again
- More active exercises and stretches later to further develop strength and flexibility
- 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 athletes who want to improve their performance
At Axes Physical Therapy in Jefferson Barracks, 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 doing what you love to do most.
Other injuries we help treat in Jefferson Barracks, 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 Jefferson Barracks, 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 with our help, the ailment is only temporary. We know you place a lot of trust in your physical therapists, so the treatment method we plan for you will be safe and backed by evidence. As part of our program, we’ll educate you on your injury and the structures of the knee so you can stay as healthy and active as possible. For meaningful and lasting recovery from your MCL injury in Jefferson Barracks, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.