MCL Injury | Moscow Mills, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Moscow Mills, MO. For many people who maintain an active lifestyle, it’s easy to fear the worst when you hear that sudden “pop” in your knee: Did I injure my MCL? How bad is the injury? How long will I be sidelines for? Will my knee ever be the same again? At Axes Physical Therapy in Moscow Mills, 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 help ensure you get back to feeling like yourself with safe, effective treatments. Physical therapy has been shown time and time again to be an integral aspect of any treatment plan for MCL injuries. Our physical therapists in Moscow Mills, MO specialize helping a variety of injuries and conditions in the musculoskeletal system heal. For treatment plans you know will be effective, call the Axes location nearest you or schedule an appointment online.
How the MCL Works
MCL is an abbreviation for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is like a strong, firmly attached rope that attaches bone to bone and provides stability. The MCL runs from the inside of your upper shin bone to the inside of your bottoms thigh bone and helps keep your knee stable and functioning normally. Its functions to guard against valgus stress, or the knee being forced unnaturally inward. It is one of four ligaments in the knee, along with the:
- ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), which goes through the middle of your knee and provides rotational stability and prevents the tibia from sliding too far forward on the femur
- 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 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 one of the most complex joints in the human body. A healthy knee relies 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 have tremendous consequences for your mobility and compete like you’re used to, or just live a pain-free day-to-day life. Certain physical therapy techniques and other treatment modalities, prescribed by a doctor, have been demonstrated through evidence to help patients manage their symptoms and return to normal functionality.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
In general, an MCL injury either involves a sprain, wherein the MCL extends farther than is naturally, or a tear, where the MCL 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 your knee largely remains stable. You will likely experience some tenderness and mild pain.
- Grade 2 — This injury is when the MCL suffers more significant tearing, generally to the superficial part of the MCL. Your knee will be slightly unstable, and your joint may 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. Pain will be intense and you’ll likely feel 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 expert Moscow Mills, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, along with your physician, create a comprehensive and personalized plan aimed at returning you to the life you’re used to safely.
How Do MCL Injuries Occur?
Ligament injuries account for 40% of all knee injuries, and most of the time that ligament is the MCL. Most MCL injuries occur due to a force to the exterior of the knee. MCL injuries can also occur if the knee is rotated too forcefully. They can also happen because of landing or excessive bending, such as if a cleat is stuck in grass while your leg keeps moving.
MCL injuries are common in 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 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
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
- Inflammation, either where the MCL is located or the whole knee
Sometimes you may feel a “wobbly” sensation, while other times you’ll barely be able to move the knee. Any time you feel pain or instability in your knee, cease any strenuous activity immediately and seek medical treatment for a diagnosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of an MCL Injury in Moscow Mills, MO
MCL injuries are diagnosed in a doctor’s office, urgent care or at a physical therapy center. In the examination, your Moscow Mills, 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 with knowledge of movement health in Moscow Mills, MO are qualified to determine if you have 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 magnetic field and computer-generated radio waves to produce detailed 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 can determine if you have suffered an MCL injury, Missouri law mandates a prescription for further physical therapy.
How MCL Injuries are Treated in Moscow Mills, MO
Typically, treating an MCL injury begins with basic first aid: reducing swelling, relieving discomfort, and utilizing the R.I.C.E. Method of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. For grade 1 injuries, the R.I.C.E method, pain and swelling relievers, and some time spent off your feet may be all you need 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 off your feet to allow your body to heal safely. Your Axes physical therapist in Moscow Mills, MO can fit you for a knee brace in order to prevent your knee from bending too far inward 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. The surgery is carried out by using a graft, either from your hamstring or from another person, to reconstruct the ligament. You would be able to go home the day of the surgery. 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 Do Physical Therapists in Moscow Mills, MO Treat MCL Injuries?
The goal of physical therapy, when dealing with any injury, is to design safe, targeted, and evidence-backed treatment methods based on each patient’s specific injury and the lifestyle they want to get back to. Physical therapy slowly and effectively improves strength in the strength in the muscles that power the joint, flexibility of soft tissue, and range of motion to the joint 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 performed by your physical therapist to help restore normal functionality
- More active exercises and stretches later to further develop strength and flexibility
- Exercises with elastic bands, weights, or cardio machines such as a stationary bike
- 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 stimulate harder-to-reach tissue
- Blood flow restriction training to help you make greater strength gains while lessening stress on the joint
- Athletic training and sports therapy for those whose main goal is to get back onto the court or field
At Axes Physical Therapy in Moscow Mills, MO, all of our treatment plans are as unique as each patient, and created with the help of 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 Moscow Mills, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Moscow Mills, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury can be painful and frightening, 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 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 Moscow Mills, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.