MCL Injury | Mapaville, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Mapaville, MO. For many people who maintain an active lifestyle, it’s easy to fear the worst when you feel sudden pain on the inside of your knee: Did I suffer an MCL injury? How bad is the injury? How long will I be sidelines for? Will I ever be able to perform at the same level again? At Axes Physical Therapy in Mapaville, MO, we are driven by positive patient experiences. While we can’t, we can help ensure you get back to feeling like yourself with safe, effective treatments. Physical therapy has proven to be a fundamental part of any treatment plan for MCL injuries. Our physical therapists in Mapaville, 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 schedule an appointment online.
How the MCL Works
MCL stands for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is like a strong, firmly attached rope that connects 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 maintains stability in the inner knee. Its functions to resist valgus stress, or the knee being pushed unnaturally inward. It is one of four ligaments in the knee, 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 forms an “X” with the ACL in the middle of the knee and the femur from sliding off the tibia
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which runs along the outside of the knee from the femur to the fibula (the smaller bone in the lower leg) 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. There are a variety of knee injuries that can have tremendous consequences for your mobility and pursue the activities you love most, or just live a pain-free day-to-day life. Certain physical therapy exercises and other treatment modalities, prescribed by a doctor, have been demonstrated through evidence to help patients reduce pain and return to optimal movement health.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
In general, an MCL injury is either a sprain, wherein the MCL is stretched farther than is naturally, or a tear, where the MCL may fray partially or entirely separate 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 don’t result in much instability. Your knee will feel tender, and you may also experience mild pain.
- Grade 2 — This is more significant tearing, usually to the superficial part of the MCL. Your knee will be slightly unstable, and the knee will likely 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. Your knee will be significantly unstable. You will likely experience intense pain and a wide array of symptoms. Grade 3 MCL injuries often occur alongside other knee injuries such as ACL tears.
However significant your MCL injuries, our professional Mapaville, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, in concert with your physician, create a comprehensive and tailored plan aimed at returning you to the life you’re used to safely.
MCL Injuries: Causes and Symptoms
40% of all knee injuries involve damage to the MCL, LCL, ACL, or PCL, and most of the time that ligament is the MCL. 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 by the knee rotating more than the ligament can support. They can also happen 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 can also occur in people who have to squat and lift heavy objects, either for athletic training or in the course of their employment.
Common Symptoms of MCL Injuries
If you suffer an MCL injury in Mapaville, MO, you’ll likely notice the pain right away. 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 along the inside of the joint
- Inflammation, either on the inside of the knee or the entire knee joint
Sometimes you may feel a “wobbly” sensation, or in other cases the knee feels too rigid. Any time you feel pain or instability in your knee, stop any strenuous activity immediately and seek medical treatment for a diagnosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of an MCL Injury in Mapaville, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a doctor’s office, emergency room or at a physical therapy center. In the examination, your Mapaville, 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 perform a valgus stress test.
Most physical therapists or physicians that specialize in mobility of the human body in Mapaville, MO will be able to diagnose 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 radio waves to produce detailed images of your soft tissue
- 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
You can also come to the Axes location nearest you for a free, no-obligation injury screening. While we can determine if you have suffered an MCL sprain or tear, Missouri law stipulates that physical therapy be prescribed by a physician.
Treating an MCL Injury in Mapaville, MO
Typically, treating an MCL injury begins with basic first aid: reducing swelling, easing discomfort, and utilizing 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 spent resting may be sufficient for your body to heal itself.
Professional physical therapy is needed for more severe 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 to refrain from rigorous activity for an even longer period. Your Axes physical therapist in Mapaville, MO will be able to fit you for a knee brace in order to prevent your knee from becoming more instable while your MCL is still healing. Even with physical therapy, you’ll likely still continue the R.I.C.E. method and anti-inflammatory 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 joint. During the surgery, a surgeon will use a graft, either from one of your other ligaments or from another person, to reconstruct the ligament. The surgery is an outpatient procedure. If your doctor thinks surgery is necessary, our physical therapists are experts at pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation get you the best possible results from your surgery.
How Can Physical Therapy in Mapaville, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
The aim of physical therapy, when dealing with any injury, is to design safe, targeted, and evidence-backed treatment methods based on each patient as an individual. Physical therapy slowly and effectively improves strength in the surrounding muscles, flexibility of soft tissue, 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:
- At the start, light movements performed by your physical therapist to slowly get the ligament used to normal motion again
- More active exercises and stretches later to further develop strength and flexibility
- Exercises with elastic bands, weight lifting equipment, or cardio machines such as treadmill
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, which research suggests can accelerate knee ligament healing
- Kinesio Taping®, which keeps the knee stable and encourages normal motion
- Trigger point dry needling to further help the body’s natural healing process
- Blood flow restriction training to help you make greater strength gains 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 Mapaville, MO, all of our treatment plans are designed individually to each patient, backed by empirical evidence, and created with the help of 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 Mapaville, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Schedule an Appointment With an Axes Physical Therapist in Mapaville, 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 there’s no reason it has to put you on the sideline forever. 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 Mapaville, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.