MCL Injury | Josephville, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Josephville, MO. For many athletes and physically active people, 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 I be sidelines for? Will this be the end of my athletic career? At Axes Physical Therapy in Josephville, MO, we are driven by getting our clients back to the physical lifestyles they’ve grown to love. While we’d like to be able to magically fix your MCL, we can help ensure you get back to feeling like yourself with safe, effective treatments. Physical therapy has proven to be a fundamental aspect of any treatment plan for MCL injuries. Our physical therapists in Josephville, MO are all licensed and average more than 15 years of individual experience. For lasting and meaningful recovery, call the Axes location nearest you or contact us online.
How the MCL Works
MCL is an abbreviation for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a fibrous of connective tissue that attaches bone to bone 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 moving normally. Its chief purpose is to guard against valgus pressure, or the knee being forced too far inward. It combines with three other ligaments to keep the knee stable:
- ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), which runs down the center of your knee and provides rotational stability and prevents the knee from bending inward
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which crosses the ACL in the middle of the knee and prevents excessive posterior translation of the tibia relative to the femur
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which affixes the thigh bone to the fibula (the smaller bone in the lower leg) and prevents the knee from being forced unnaturally outward
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 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 live a pain-free day-to-day life. Specific physical therapy exercises and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been demonstrated through research and studies to help patients mitigate pain and swelling and return to optimal mobility.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
Generally speaking, an MCL injury either involves a sprain, wherein the MCL extends beyond its normal range of motion, or a tear, where the ligament is either partially or completely torn or separated from the bone. There are three grades to MCL injuries:
- 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. Your knee will feel tender, and you may also experience soreness.
- Grade 2 — This is a more moderate tear, generally to the middle layer of the MCL. You will probably lose some stability in the joint, and the knee will likely 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. You will likely feel intense pain and several other symptoms. Grade 3 MCL injuries often occur alongside other knee injuries such as ACL tears.
However significant your MCL injuries, the team of professional Josephville, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, alongside your physician, develop a comprehensive and personalized plan to get you back to the things you love without incurring further injury.
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. Most MCL injuries occur due to physical trauma on the outer edge of the knee. MCL injuries can also occur if the knee is rotated more than the ligament can support. They can also occur because of landing or excessive bending, such as if a cleat is stuck in grass while your leg keeps moving.
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 people feel pain immediately on the inside of the joint when they experience an MCL sprain or tear. 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
- Swelling, either where the MCL is located or the whole knee
Sometimes you may feel like your knee is “shaky”, or in other cases 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 seek medical treatment for a diagnosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of an MCL Injury in Josephville, MO
MCL injuries are diagnosed in a physical examination. The examination will usually start with a doctor or physical therapist in Josephville, 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 Josephville, MO are qualified to determine if you have an MCL injury with the above procedures. Other tests to check severity or to confirm may include:
- An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), which uses a magnetic field and computer-generated radio waves to create three-dimensional images of the inside of your knee
- An ultrasound, which uses sound waves and can help determine how severely the ligament 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
You can also visit the Axes location nearest you for a complimentary, no-risk injury screening. While we will be able to diagnose your injury, Missouri law mandates that physical therapy be prescribed by a doctor.
Treating an MCL Injury in Josephville, MO
The initial treatment of an MCL injury consists of basic first aid: reducing swelling, relieving discomfort, and using 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 with limited activity may be all you need for your body’s natural healing processes to get you back on your feet.
Professional physical therapy is needed for grade 2 and 3 injuries to restore strength and optimal range of motion and get you back to racing down or around the court or field. You’ll also need time off your feet to allow your body to heal safely. Your Axes physical therapist in Josephville, MO will be able to fit you for a knee brace in order to prevent your knee from bending too far inward while your MCL is still 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 structures of the knee. During the surgery, a surgeon will use a graft, either from your hamstring or from another person, to reconstruct the ligament. You would be able to go home the day of the surgery. If your doctor thinks surgery is necessary, 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 Josephville, 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 as an individual. 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. A physical therapist may recommend and implement the following practices:
- To begin, light movements carried about by your physical therapist to slowly get the MCL used to normal motion again
- Exercised performed by you later to further develop strength and flexibility
- Exercises with elastic bands, weight lifting equipment, or cardio machines such as an elliptical
- 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 stimulate harder-to-reach tissue
- 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 Josephville, MO, all of our treatment plans are as unique as each patient, and created with the help of your doctor, in order to deliver you the best client experience and get you back to the activities you love.
Other conditions we help treat in Josephville, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Josephville, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury can be painful and frightening, 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 Josephville, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.