MCL Injury | Meacham Park, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Meacham Park, MO. If someone plays sports or engages in other physical activity, 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 have to permanently give up the things I love doing? At Axes Physical Therapy in Meacham Park, MO, all of our physical and occupational therapists are committed to getting our clients back to sprinting down the court. While we can’t, we can make your recovery safe and effective through personalized, proven treatment plans. Physical therapy has proven to be an essential part of any treatment plan for MCL injuries. Our physical therapists in Meacham Park, MO are all licensed and average more than 15 years of individual experience. For treatment plans you know will be effective, reach out to the Axes location nearest you or contact us online.
The Anatomy of the MCL
MCL stands for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a tough, flexible of connective tissue 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 helps keep your knee stable and moving normally. Its main purpose is to withstand valgus pressure, or the knee being forced 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 tibia from sliding too far forward on the femur
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which forms an “X” with the ACL inside the knee and keeps the shinbone from sliding back too far
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which attaches the thigh bone 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. Healthy structure and function depends on surrounding bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. When any knee injury, such as an MCL tear, occurs it can have tremendous consequences for your mobility and pursue the activities you love most, or just live a pain-free day-to-day life. Particular physical therapy exercises and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been proven to help patients reduce pain and return to normal mobility.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
Generally speaking, an MCL injury either involves a sprain, wherein the MCL extends farther than is naturally, or a tear, where the MCL may fray partially or entirely separate from the bone. MCL injuries are “graded” in three tiers:
- Grade 1 — A grade 1 MCL injury refers to a sprain, or a tear where less than 10% of the the fibers in your MCL are torn. It’s typically a mild injury, and your knee will still be stable. Symptoms will likely be tenderness and mild pain.
- Grade 2 — This injury is when the MCL suffers more significant tearing, usually to the more fibrous part of the MCL. Your knee will be slightly unstable, and your joint may be loose when manipulated manually. Pain is much more severe in a grade 2 MCL injury.
- 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 feel intense pain and 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, the team of licensed Meacham Park, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, in concert with your physician, create an extensive plan specially made for you and your injuries aimed at returning you to the life you’re used to in a safe and effective manner.
How Do MCL Injuries Occur?
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 occur if the knee is rotated more than the ligament can stand. They can also take place when landing or awkward bending, such as if your foot stays in one place while you’re moving.
MCL injuries usually occur athletes in contact sports and in sports that require a lot of cutting and jumping 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 joint when they experience an MCL sprain or tear. Other symptoms may include:
- Hearing or feeling a popping sound or sensation
- Feeling like the may give out
- Not being able to put any weight on the knee
- Tenderness along the inside of the joint
- Swelling, either on the inside of the knee or the whole knee
Sometimes your knee may feel like it’s wobbling when you walk, even if walking doesn’t hurt, while other times you’ll barely be able to move the knee. If you experience any of the above symptoms, cease any strenuous activity immediately and seek medical treatment for a diagnosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of an MCL Injury in Meacham Park, MO
MCL injuries are diagnosed in a physical examination. In the examination, your Meacham Park, MO doctor or physical therapist will go over what led to the injury, 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 Meacham Park, MO are qualified to diagnose 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 computer-generated radio waves to produce three-dimensional images of the inside of your knee
- 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, to insure your femur, patella, tibia, and fibula have not fractured
You can also schedule and appointment with 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 Revised Statute §334.506 requires that physical therapy be prescribed by a physician.
Treating an MCL Injury in Meacham Park, MO
Typically, treating an MCL injury begins with basic first aid: inflammation reduction, relieving pain, and implementing 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 all you need for your body to heal itself.
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 most physical activity for an even longer period. Your Axes physical therapist in Meacham Park, MO will be able to fit you for a knee brace to give your knee stability while it’s healing. 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 nonsurgical treatment just isn’t working — may require surgery. During the surgery, a surgeon will use a graft, either from your hamstring or an organ donor, 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 to make your surgery and recovery as successful as possible.
How Do Physical Therapists in Meacham Park, MO Treat MCL Injuries?
The objective of physical therapy, when dealing with any injury, is to implement safe and evidence-backed exercises, each aimed at helping a specific part of the body regain a specific level or function. These treatments and exercises will, over time, build strength in the surrounding muscles, 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. Depending on you and your injuries, your treatment plan may include:
- To begin, light motions performed by your physical therapist to help restore normal functionality
- Exercised performed by you later to further develop strength and flexibility
- Exercises with elastic bands, weight lifting equipment, 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 further help the body’s natural healing process
- Blood flow restriction training to help you make greater strength gains while lifting lighter loads
- Athletic training and sports therapy for those whose main goal is to get back onto the court or field
At Axes Physical Therapy in Meacham Park, MO, all of our treatment plans are designed specifically for you, proven through peer-reviewed research, and created alongside your physician, in order to get you the best patient outcome possible and get you back to doing what you love to do most.
Other services we offer in Meacham Park, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Meacham Park, 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 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 Meacham Park, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.