MCL Injury | Lakeshire, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Lakeshire, MO. If someone plays sports or engages in other physical activity, feeling that sudden “pop” in their knee creates a lot of doubts: Did I suffer an MCL injury? How bad is the injury? How long will I be sidelines for? Will this be the end of my athletic career? At Axes Physical Therapy in Lakeshire, 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 proven to be an essential component of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in Lakeshire, 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 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 connects bones to each other and helps hold structures with the body together. The MCL connects your upper shin bone to the inner surface of the bottom thigh bone, running along your inner knee, and helps keep your knee stable and moving normally. Its primary purpose is to withstand valgus pressure, 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 prevents excessive posterior translation of the tibia relative to the femur
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which connects the femur to the fibula (the smaller bone between the knee and ankle) and provides stability to the outer knee
The knee is one of the biggest joints we have. Optimal structure and function depends on surrounding bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. 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. Certain physical therapy exercises and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been proven to help those who have suffered an MCL injury manage their symptoms and get back to normal mobility.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
For all intents and purposes, an MCL injury either involves a sprain, wherein the MCL extends farther than is naturally, 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. It’s typically a mild injury, and your knee will still be stable. Your knee will feel tender, and you may also experience mild pain.
- Grade 2 — This is a more moderate tear, generally to the superficial part of the MCL. You will probably lose some stability in your knee, 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 — A grade 3 tear is a complete tear, or separation from the bone. You will likely feel like your knee’s about to buckle. You will likely experience significant pain and a wide array of symptoms. Grade 3 MCL injuries often occur alongside other knee injuries such as ACL tears.
Whatever grade MCL injury you have, our professional Lakeshire, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, alongside your physician, develop a comprehensive and customized plan to get you back to the things you love without incurring further injury.
What Causes MCL Injuries?
40% of all knee injuries involve damage to a ligament, and the MCL is the most commonly injured ligament. Most MCL injuries occur due to a blow to the outer edge of the knee. MCL injuries can also occur if the knee is rotated more than the ligament can stand. They can also take place when landing or unnatural bending, such as if your foot stays in one place while your leg keeps moving.
MCL injuries usually occur athletes in contact sports and in activities that require a lot of sudden movement such as football, soccer, skiing, basketball, and tennis. They can also occur in people who lift weights or lift heavy objects at their work.
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 sensation
- The knee being unstable
- Pain or discomfort when trying to bear weight
- Tenderness on the inside of your knee
- Swelling, 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 schedule a physical examination in order to get a diagnosis.
Diagnosing and Treating an MCL Injury in Lakeshire, MO
MCL injuries are diagnosed in a doctor’s office, urgent care or at a physical therapy center. In the examination, your Lakeshire, 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 check for stability.
Most physical therapists or doctors that specialize in mobility of the human body in Lakeshire, MO are qualified 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 radio waves to take 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
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 mandates a prescription for further physical therapy.
How MCL Injuries are Treated in Lakeshire, MO
Right after your MCL injury, you should start with basic first aid: inflammation reduction, reducing discomfort, and implementing 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 enough for your body’s natural healing processes to get you back on your feet.
Professional physical therapy is needed for more severe tears 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 of limited activity to allow your body to heal safely. Your Axes physical therapist in Lakeshire, 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 knee. During the surgery, a surgeon will use a graft, either from your hamstring or an organ donor, to reattach the torn sections. The surgery is an outpatient procedure. If you do require surgery in Lakeshire, 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 safely restore, strength, flexibility, and range of motion after.
How Can Physical Therapy in Lakeshire, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
The objective of physical therapy, when dealing with any injury, is to create safe and evidence-backed treatments, each aimed at helping a specific part of the body regain a specific level or function. Physical therapy slowly and effectively improves strength in the strength in the muscles that power the knee, flexibility of soft tissue, and range of motion to the joint 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 ligament 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 has been proven to help accelerate knee ligament healing
- Kinesio Taping®, which provides further stability while your body heals and helps control motion
- Trigger point dry needling to stimulate harder-to-reach tissue
- Blood flow restriction training to improve strength while lifting lighter weights
- Athletic training and sports therapy for athletes who want to improve their performance
At Axes Physical Therapy in Lakeshire, MO, all of our treatment plans are designed specifically for you, backed by empirical evidence, and created with the help of your physician, in order to get you the best patient outcome possible and get you back to the activities you love.
Other services we offer in Lakeshire, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Lakeshire, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury can be painful and frightening, especially if you’re an athlete, but with our help, the ailment is only temporary. We know our clients trust us with their recovery, so we repay that trust with safe and effective treatments that are 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 Lakeshire, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.