MCL Injury | Leadington, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Leadington, MO. For many people who maintain an active lifestyle, feeling that sudden “pop” in their knee creates a lot of anxiety: Did I suffer an MCL injury? How bad is the injury? How long will it take to recover? Will this be the end of my athletic career? At Axes Physical Therapy in Leadington, MO, we are driven by getting our patients back to tearing up the filed. 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, evidence-backed treatments. Physical therapy has been shown time and time again to be an essential component of any treatment plan for MCL injuries. Our physical therapists in Leadington, MO are movement health experts. For treatment plans you know will be effective, reach out to the Axes location most convenient for you you or request an appointment online.
What is the MCL?
MCL an acronym for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is like a strong, firmly attached rope that attaches bone to bone and provides stability. The MCL connects your upper shin bone to the inner surface of the bottom thigh bone, running along your inner knee, and keeps the knee from moving side to side. Its functions to guard against valgus pressure, or the knee being forced unnaturally towards the other one. It combines with three other ligaments to keep the knee stable:
- ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), which goes through the middle of your knee and provides rotational stability and prevents the knee from bending inward
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which crosses the ACL inside 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 femur to the fibula (the smaller bone the small bone behind the tibia) 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 stability and function properly. There are a variety of knee injuries that can limit or completely restrict your mobility and compete like you’re used to, or just live a pain-free day-to-day life. Specific physical therapy techniques and other treatment modalities, prescribed by a doctor, have been proven to help patients reduce pain and return to optimal functionality.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
For all intents and purposes, an MCL injury either involves a sprain, wherein the MCL is stretched 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 the fibers in your ligament are torn. These injuries are typically not especially painful or debilitating, and don’t result in much instability. You will likely experience some tenderness and some soreness.
- Grade 2 — This is more significant tearing, usually to the middle layer of the ligament. Your knee will be slightly unstable, and the knee will likely be loose when moved by hand. 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. You will retain little to no stability. You will likely experience significant pain and a wide array of 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 Leadington, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, as a team with your doctor, develop a comprehensive and customized plan to get you back to the things you love without incurring further injury.
How Do MCL Injuries Occur?
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 happen because of landing or awkward bending, such as if your foot stays in one place 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 lift weights or lift heavy objects at their work.
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
- The knee being unstable
- Not being able to put any weight on the knee
- Tenderness where the MCL is located
- Swelling, either where the MCL is located or the entire knee joint
Sometimes your knee may feel like it’s wobbling when you walk, even if walking doesn’t hurt, or in other cases the knee feels too rigid. 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.
Diagnosis and Treatment of an MCL Injury in Leadington, MO
MCL injuries are diagnosed in a doctor’s office, emergency room or at a physical therapy center. In the examination, your Leadington, 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 the musculoskeletal system in Leadington, 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 radio waves to produce detailed 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, while it won’t show the MCL or other ligaments, to insure your femur, patella, tibia, and fibula have not fractured
Axes Physical Therapy also offers injury screening injury screenings at no cost or obligation to you. While we can determine if you have suffered an MCL sprain or tear, Missouri Revised Statute §334.506 mandates a prescription in order to officially begin physical therapy treatment.
How MCL Injuries are Treated in Leadington, MO
Typically, treating an MCL injury begins with basic first aid: reducing swelling, easing discomfort, and implementing the R.I.C.E. Method of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. For grade 1 injuries, the R.I.C.E method, over-the-counter pain relievers, and some time spent off your feet may be enough to get mostly back to normal.
More significant injuries 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 activity for an even longer period. Your Axes physical therapist in Leadington, 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.
Though rare, the worst grade 1 tears — in which the MCL is completely torn, the injury is accompanied by an ACL tear, or you are not recovering after several weeks of nonsurgical treatment — may require surgery. The surgery is carried out by using a graft, either from one of your other ligaments or an organ donor, to reconstruct the ligament. You would not have to be hospitalized overnight. If you do require surgery in Leadington, MO, our physical therapists specialize in pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation get you the best possible results from your surgery.
How Do Physical Therapists in Leadington, MO Treat MCL Injuries?
For recovering from any injury, a physically therapist will implement safe, effective, and evidence-backed treatment methods based on each patient as an individual. 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 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, passive movements carried about by your physical therapist to slowly get the joint used to normal motion again
- Exercised performed by you later to regain strength
- Exercises with resistant bands, weight lifting equipment, 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 improve strength while lifting lighter weights
- Athletic training and sports therapy for those whose main goal is to get back onto the court or field
At Axes Physical Therapy in Leadington, MO, all of our treatment plans are as unique as each patient, and created alongside your physician, in order to deliver you the best client experience and get you back to doing what you love to do most.
Other injuries we help treat in Leadington, MO include:
- Vestibular Therapy
- Concussion Treatment
- Soft Tissue Mobilization
- Post Surgical Rehabilitation
- Shin Splint Treatment
- Direct Access Physical Therapy
- Gait Analysis
- Pelvic Floor Therapy
- Dry Needling Near Me
- Tendonitis Treatment
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Leadington, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury is scary and anxiety-inducing at first, especially if you’re used to being physically active, 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. 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 Leadington, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.