MCL Injury | New Haven, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in New Haven, MO. If someone plays sports or engages in other physical activity, feeling that sudden “pop” in their knee creates a lot of doubts: Did I injure my MCL? Is it significant? How long will it take to recover? Will this be the end of my athletic career? At Axes Physical Therapy in New Haven, MO, we are driven by positive patient outcomes. While we can’t, we can make your recovery safe and effective through tailored, proven treatment plans. Physical therapy has proven to be an integral component of any treatment plan for MCL injuries. Our physical therapists in New Haven, MO are movement health experts. For lasting and meaningful recovery, call the Axes location nearest you or schedule an appointment online.
What is the MCL?
MCL is an abbreviation for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is like a strong, firmly attached rope that connects bones to each other and helps hold structures with the body together. The MCL runs from the inside of your upper shin bone to the inside of your bottoms thigh bone and maintains stability in the inner knee. Its chief purpose is to withstand valgus pressure, or the knee being forced too far towards the other one. It combines with three other ligaments that work together to support normal function and stability:
- ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), which goes through the middle of your knee and controls rotation and controls forward movement
- 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 femur to the fibula (the smaller bone between the knee and ankle) and prevents the knee from being pushed unnaturally outward
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. When any knee injury, such as an MCL tear, occurs it can limit or completely restrict your mobility and pursue the activities you love most, or just complete basic tasks pain-free. Certain physical therapy techniques and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been proven to help those who have suffered an MCL injury mitigate pain and swelling and return to normal functionality.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
Generally speaking, an MCL injury is either a sprain, wherein the MCL extends beyond its normal limits, or a tear, where the MCL is either partially or completely torn or separated 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. Your knee will feel tender, and you may also experience mild pain.
- Grade 2 — This injury is when the MCL suffers more significant tearing, generally to the more fibrous part of the MCL. You will probably lose some stability in your knee, and the knee will likely be loose when manipulated manually. Pain is much more severe in a grade 2 MCL injury.
- Grade 3 — This injury is a complete tear to both the fibrous and deep parts. You will likely feel like your knee’s about to “give out.” Pain will be intense and you’ll likely feel several other symptoms. Grade 3 MCL injuries often occur alongside other knee injuries such as ACL tears.
Whatever grade MCL injury you have, the team of professional New Haven, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, in concert with your physician, implement an exhaustive plan specially made for you and your injuries aimed at returning you to the life you’re used to without incurring further injury.
What Causes MCL Injuries?
Ligament injuries account for 40% of all knee injuries, 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 by the knee rotating more than the ligament can support. They can also occur because of landing or awkward bending, such as if your foot stays in one place while you’re moving.
Athletes in contact sports are the most likely to sustain an MCL injury. 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 sudden, noticeable pain. Other symptoms may include:
- A sudden “pop” on the inside of your knee
- The knee being unstable
- Inability to bear weight
- Tenderness where the MCL is located
- Inflammation, either on the inside of the knee or the entire knee joint
Sometimes you may feel like your knee is “shaky”, or in other cases the knee feels too stiff. If you suspect you may have suffered an MCL injury, cease any strenuous activity immediately and schedule a physical examination in order to get a diagnosis.
Diagnosing and Treating an MCL Injury in New Haven, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a doctor’s office, urgent care or at a physical therapy center. In the examination, your New Haven, 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 check for stability.
Most physical therapists or doctors with knowledge of movement health in New Haven, MO are qualified 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 magnet and computer-generated radio waves to take three-dimensional 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
You can also schedule and appointment with the Axes location most convenient for you for a complimentary, no-risk injury screening. While we can offer you an evaluation, Missouri Revised Statute §334.506 requires a prescription in order to officially begin physical therapy treatment.
How to Treat and MCL Injury in New Haven, MO
The initial treatment of an MCL injury consists of basic first aid: inflammation reduction, reducing 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, pain and swelling relievers, and some time with limited activity may be sufficient to get mostly back to normal.
Professional physical therapy is needed for more severe tears to restore strength and function and get you back to racing down or around the court or field. You’ll also need time resting to allow your body to heal safely. Your Axes physical therapist in New Haven, MO can fit you for a knee brace to give your knee stability while it’s 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 joint. During the surgery, a surgeon will use a graft, either from one of your other ligaments or from another person, to reattach the torn sections. You would be able to go home the day of the surgery. If you do require surgery in New Haven, MO, 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 New Haven, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
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 get back to optimal movement health. Physical therapy slowly and effectively improves strength in the surrounding muscles, flexibility of soft tissue, 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, light movements carried about by your physical therapist to slowly get the knee used to normal motion again
- Exercised performed by you 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 function
- Trigger point dry needling to further help the body’s natural healing process
- Blood flow restriction training to improve strength while lessening stress on the joint
- Athletic training and sports therapy for athletes who want to reduce the risk of reinjury
At Axes Physical Therapy in New Haven, 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 doing what you love to do most.
Other services we offer in New Haven, MO include:
- Dry Needling Near Me
- Tendonitis Treatment
- Manual Physical Therapy
- Orthopedic Rehab Near Me
- Beginner Running Program
- Chronic Pain Treatment
- Spine Specialist Near Me
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
Schedule an Appointment With an Axes Physical Therapist in New Haven, 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 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. 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 New Haven, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.