MCL Injury | Manchester, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Manchester, MO. For many people who maintain an active lifestyle, feeling that sudden “pop” in their knee creates a lot of doubts: Did I injure my MCL? How bad is the injury? How long will I be sidelines for? Will I have to permanently give up the things I love doing? At Axes Physical Therapy in Manchester, MO, all of our physical and occupational therapists are committed to getting our patients back to the physical lifestyles they’ve grown to love. While we can’t, we can make your recovery safe and effective through tailored, proven treatment plans. Physical therapy has proven to be an essential part of any treatment plan for MCL injuries. Our physical therapists in Manchester, MO are movement health experts. For treatment plans you know will be effective, reach out to the Axes location nearest you or schedule an appointment online.
How the MCL Works
MCL an acronym for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a fibrous of connective tissue that connects bone to bone and keeps joints stable. 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 withstand valgus stress, or the knee being pushed unnaturally 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 knee from bending inward
- 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 attaches 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 one of the most complex joints we have. 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 greatly affect your mobility and ability to do what you love most, or just get around the house pain-free. Particular physical therapy techniques and other treatment modalities, prescribed by a doctor, have been demonstrated through research and analysis to help patients mitigate pain and swelling and get back to optimal movement health.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
For all intents and purposes, an MCL injury is either a sprain, which stretches the ligament beyond its normal range of motion, or a tear, where the ligament may fray partially or entirely separate from the bone. MCL injuries are “graded” in three levels:
- Grade 1 — A grade 1 MCL injury refers to a sprain, or a tear where less than 10% of the MCL has been torn. These injuries are typically not especially painful or debilitating, and don’t result in much instability. Symptoms will likely be tenderness and mild pain.
- Grade 2 — This injury is when the MCL suffers more significant tearing, usually to the superficial part of the ligament. You will probably lose some stability in your knee, 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 — This injury is a complete tear to both the fibrous and deep parts. Your knee will be significantly unstable. You will likely feel intense pain and 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 qualified Manchester, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, alongside your doctor, implement an exhaustive and tailored plan aimed at returning you to the life you’re used to without incurring further injury.
MCL Injuries: Causes and Symptoms
40% of all knee injuries involve damage to the MCL, LCL, ACL, or PCL, and the MCL is the most commonly injured ligament. MCL injuries occur due to the knee suddenly being forced too far inward. MCL injuries can also occur if the knee is rotated too forcefully. They can also happen because of landing or awkward bending, such as if a cleat is stuck in grass while you’re moving.
MCL injuries usually occur athletes in contact sports and in athletic events that require a lot of torque being placed on the body such as football, soccer, skiing, basketball, and tennis. They are also common in those who have to squat and lift heavy objects, either for athletic training or in the course of their employment.
Common Symptoms of MCL Injuries
Most MCL injuries are accompanied by immediate, noticeable pain. Other symptoms may include:
- Hearing or feeling a popping noise or sensation
- Pain or discomfort when trying to bear weight
- Tenderness on the inside of your knee
- Inflammation, either where the MCL is located or the entire knee joint
Sometimes your knee may feel like your knee is loose when you walk, even if walking doesn’t hurt, while other times you’ll barely be able to move the knee. If you suspect you may have suffered an MCL injury, do not participate in any more strenuous activity and schedule a physical examination in order to get a diagnosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of an MCL Injury in Manchester, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a doctor’s office, emergency room or at a physical therapy center. The examination will usually start with a doctor or physical therapist in Manchester, MO asking how the injury occurred. They’ll then bend your knee and apply slight pressure to the outside of it, noting how much pain you are in and whether or not your knee is unstable. 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 Manchester, MO will be able to determine if you have an MCL injury with the above procedures. 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 magnetic field and computer-generated radio waves to create 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 does not show soft tissue, may be ordered for a severe MCL injury to ensure there are no broken bones
Alternatively, you can come to the Axes location nearest you for a complimentary, no-risk injury screening. While we can determine if you have suffered an MCL injury, Missouri Revised Statute §334.506 mandates a prescription for further physical therapy.
Treating an MCL Injury in Manchester, MO
Right after your MCL injury, you should start with basic first aid: reducing swelling, managing 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, pain and swelling relievers, and a few days or week or two of rest may be sufficient for your body to heal itself.
Professional physical therapy is needed for grade 2 and 3 tears to restore strength and optimal range of motion and get you back to the activities you love. You’ll also need time resting to allow your body to heal safely. Your Axes physical therapist in Manchester, 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 worst grade 1 tears — 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. The surgery is carried out by using a graft, either from your hamstring or an organ donor, to reconstruct the ligament. You would be able to go home the day of the surgery. If you do require surgery in Manchester, MO, our physical therapists specialize in pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation, which ensures that your knee will be healthy enough for the surgery, and you’ll safely restore, strength, flexibility, and range of motion after.
How Do Physical Therapists in Manchester, MO Treat MCL Injuries?
The goal of physical therapy, when dealing with any injury, is to create safe, effective, and evidence-backed treatment methods based on each patient as an individual. 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:
- To begin, light motions carried about by your physical therapist to slowly get the MCL used to normal motion again
- More active exercises and stretches later to regain strength
- Exercises with elastic 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 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 help you make greater strength gains while lifting lighter weights
- Athletic training and sports therapy for athletes who want to reduce the risk of reinjury
At Axes Physical Therapy in Manchester, MO, all of our treatment plans are designed specifically for you, backed by empirical evidence, and created alongside your physician, in order to deliver you the best client experience and get you back to the activities you love.
Other services we offer in Manchester, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Manchester, 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 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. 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 Manchester, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.