MCL Injury | Kinloch, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Kinloch, MO. If someone plays sports or engages in other physical activity, feeling that sudden “pop” in their knee creates a lot of anxiety: Did I injure my MCL? Is it significant? How long will I be sidelines for? Will I have to permanently give up the things I love doing? At Axes Physical Therapy in Kinloch, MO, we are driven by positive patient outcomes. While we’d like to be able to make your MCL injury go away, we can make your recovery safe and effective through customized, proven treatment plans. Physical therapy has been shown time and time again to be a fundamental component of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in Kinloch, MO are movement health experts. For lasting and meaningful recovery, call the Axes location nearest you or contact us online.
The Anatomy of the MCL
MCL is an abbreviation for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is like a strong, firmly attached rope that affixes 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 helps keep your knee stable and moving normally. Its primary purpose is to resist valgus pressure, or the knee being forced too far towards the other one. It is one of four ligaments that help keep the knee stable, along with the:
- ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), which runs down the center 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 prevents excessive posterior translation of the tibia relative to the femur
- 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 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 support and function properly. When any knee injury, such as an MCL tear, occurs it can greatly affect your mobility and ability to do what you love most, or just live a pain-free day-to-day life. Specific physical therapy exercises and other treatment modalities, prescribed by a doctor, have been demonstrated through research and studies to help those who have suffered an MCL injury manage their symptoms and get back to normal functionality.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
In general, an MCL injury either involves a sprain, wherein the MCL extends beyond its normal range of motion, or a tear, where the MCL 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 the fibers in your ligament are torn. These are not generally severe, and your knee will still be 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. Your knee will be slightly unstable, and your joint may be loose when moved by hand. A grade 2 injury will result in significantly more pain than a grade 2 MCL injury.
- Grade 3 — This injury is a complete tear to both the superficial and deep parts. 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, our licensed Kinloch, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, alongside your physician, develop a comprehensive and personalized plan aimed at returning you to the life you’re used to in a safe and effective manner.
What Causes MCL Injuries?
Ligament injuries account for 40% of all knee injuries, and most of the time that ligament is the MCL. Most MCL injuries occur due to a blow to the exterior of the knee. MCL injuries can also by the knee rotating more than the ligament can stand. They can also take place when landing or unnatural bending, such as if a cleat is stuck in grass while your leg keeps moving.
MCL injuries usually occur athletes in contact sports and in sports that require a lot of sudden movement 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
Most people feel pain immediately on the inside of the knee when they experience an MCL sprain or tear. Other symptoms may include:
- Hearing or feeling a popping sound or feeling
- Not being able to put any weight on the knee
- Tenderness on the inside of your knee
- Inflammation, either on the inside of the knee or the entire knee joint
Sometimes you may feel a “wobbly” sensation, while other times the knee feels too rigid. If you experience any of the above symptoms, cease any strenuous activity immediately and schedule a physical examination in order to get a diagnosis.
Diagnosing and Treating an MCL Injury in Kinloch, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a doctor’s office, urgent care or at a physical therapy center. In the examination, your Kinloch, 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 that specialize in the musculoskeletal system in Kinloch, MO will be able to diagnose an MCL injury with a physical examination. Other tests to check severity or to confirm may include:
- An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), which uses a magnet and computer-generated radio waves to take three-dimensional images of the knee joint
- An ultrasound, which uses sound waves and can be helpful in checking the severity of your injury
- An X-ray, which does not show soft tissue, 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 stipulates a prescription in order to officially begin physical therapy treatment.
Treating an MCL Injury in Kinloch, MO
Typically, treating an MCL injury begins with basic first aid: reducing swelling, relieving pain, and using the R.I.C.E. Method of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. For sprains or slight tears, the R.I.C.E method, over-the-counter pain relievers, and some time with limited activity 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 function and get you back to the activities you love. You’ll also need time of limited activity to allow your body to heal safely. Your Axes physical therapist in Kinloch, MO can fit you for a knee brace in order to prevent your knee from moving side to side while your MCL is still healing. With physical therapy, you’ll still continue icing your knee and taking anti-inflammatory pain medication.
Though uncommon, the most severe cases — 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 one of your other ligaments or an organ donor, to reattach the torn sections. The surgery is an outpatient procedure. If you do require surgery in Kinloch, MO, our physical therapists specialize in pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation, which ensures that your knee will be healthy enough for the operation, and you’ll build back strength safely after the surgery.
How Can Physical Therapy in Kinloch, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
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. 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 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:
- At the start, passive movements performed by your physical therapist to help restore normal functionality
- 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 has been proven to help 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 lessening stress on the joint
- Athletic training and sports therapy for athletes who want to improve their performance
At Axes Physical Therapy in Kinloch, MO, all of our treatment plans are designed specifically for you, backed by empirical evidence, and created in concert with 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 Kinloch, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Kinloch, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury is scary and anxiety-inducing at first, especially if you’re an athlete, but with our help, you can get back to how you used to feel. We know our clients trust us with their recovery, 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 anatomy of the knee so you can stay as healthy and active as possible. For meaningful and lasting recovery from your MCL injury in Kinloch, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.