MCL Injury | Mehlville, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Mehlville, 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 injure my MCL? How bad is the injury? How long will it take to recover? Will I have to permanently give up the things I love doing? At Axes Physical Therapy in Mehlville, MO, we are driven by getting our patients back to the physical lifestyles they’ve grown to love. While we’d like to be able to make your MCL injury go away, we can make your recovery safe and effective through customized, evidence-based treatment plans. Physical therapy has proven to be an essential aspect of any treatment plan for MCL injuries. Our physical therapists in Mehlville, MO are movement health experts. For lasting and meaningful recovery, reach out to the Axes location nearest you or contact us online.
What is the MCL?
MCL is an abbreviation for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a tough band of connective tissue that attaches bone to bone and keeps joints stable. The MCL runs from the inside of your upper shin bone to the inside of your bottoms thigh bone and keeps the knee from moving side to side. Its chief purpose is to withstand valgus pressure, or the knee being pushed unnaturally towards the other one. 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 controls rotation and prevents the knee from bending inward
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which crosses the ACL inside the knee and keeps the shinbone from sliding back too far
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which connects the thigh bone to the fibula (the smaller bone the small bone behind the tibia) and gives stability to the outer knee
The knee is known for being one of our most complex joints. Healthy structure and movement depends on surrounding bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. When any knee injury, such as an MCL tear, occurs it can limit or completely restrict your mobility and ability to do what you love most, or just live a pain-free day-to-day life. Particular physical therapy techniques and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been demonstrated through evidence to help those who have suffered an MCL injury mitigate pain and swelling and get back to optimal functionality.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
In general, an MCL injury either involves a sprain, which stretches the ligament beyond its normal limits, 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 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 your knee largely remains stable. You will likely experience some tenderness and some soreness.
- Grade 2 — This is more significant tearing, most commonly to the superficial part of the MCL. Your knee will be slightly unstable, and the knee will likely be loose when manipulated manually. 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 “give out.” Pain will be intense and you’ll likely feel 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 qualified Mehlville, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, as a team with your physician, develop an extensive and personalized plan aimed at returning you to the life you’re used to in a safe and effective manner.
MCL Injuries: Causes and Symptoms
40% of all knee injuries involve damage to a ligament, 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 more than the ligament can stand. They can also happen because of landing or unnatural 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 lift weights or lift heavy objects at their work.
Common Symptoms of MCL Injuries
If you suffer an MCL injury in Mehlville, MO, you’ll probably notice the pain right away. Other symptoms may include:
- A sudden “pop” on the inside of your knee
- Feeling like the may buckle
- Not being able to put any weight on the knee
- Tenderness on the inside of your knee
- Inflammation, either where the MCL is located or the whole knee
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. Any time you feel pain or instability in your knee, do not participate in any more strenuous activity and schedule a physical examination in order to get a diagnosis.
Diagnosing and Treating an MCL Injury in Mehlville, MO
MCL injuries are diagnosed in a physical examination. The examination will usually start with a doctor or physical therapist in Mehlville, 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 with knowledge of movement health in Mehlville, 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 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, kneecap, tibia, and fibula have not been broken
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 Revised Statute §334.506 requires a prescription for further physical therapy.
Treating an MCL Injury in Mehlville, MO
The initial treatment of an MCL injury consists of basic first aid: reducing swelling, managing discomfort, 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, over-the-counter pain relievers, and a few days or week or two of rest may be all you need for your body to heal itself.
Grade 2 or 3 tears 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 time off your feet to allow your body to heal safely. Your Axes physical therapist in Mehlville, 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. 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 structures of the knee. The surgery is carried out by using a graft, either from your hamstring or an organ donor, to reconstruct the MCL. The surgery is an outpatient procedure. If you do require surgery in Mehlville, MO, our physical therapists specialize in pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation to make your surgery and recovery as successful as possible.
How Do Physical Therapists in Mehlville, MO Treat MCL Injuries?
For recovering from any injury, a physically therapist will create safe and evidence-backed treatments, 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 strength in the muscles that power the knee, 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. A physical therapist may recommend and implement the following practices:
- To begin, passive movements carried about by your physical therapist to help restore normal functionality
- More active exercises and stretches later to further develop strength and flexibility
- Exercises with resistant bands, weights, or cardio machines such as treadmill
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, which research suggests can accelerate knee ligament healing
- Kinesio Taping®, which provides further stability while your body heals and encourages normal 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 those whose main goal is to get back onto the court or field
At Axes Physical Therapy in Mehlville, MO, all of our treatment plans are designed individually to each patient, proven through peer-reviewed research, and created in concert with your doctor, 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 Mehlville, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Mehlville, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury is scary and anxiety-inducing at first, especially if you’re an athlete or someone who finds joy in an active lifestyle, but with our help, you can get back to how you used to feel. 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. As part of our program, we’ll educate you on your injury and how the knee works so you can stay as healthy and active as possible. For meaningful and lasting recovery from your MCL injury in Mehlville, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.