MCL Injury | New Melle, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in New Melle, MO. If someone plays sports or engages in other physical activity, it’s easy to fear the worst when you hear that sudden “pop” in your knee: Did I suffer an MCL injury? 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 New Melle, MO, all of our physical and occupational therapists are dedicated to getting our clients back to sprinting down the court. While we can’t, we can make your recovery safe and effective through tailored, evidence-based treatment plans. 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 New Melle, MO specialize helping a variety of injuries and conditions in the musculoskeletal system heal. For treatment plans you know will be effective, reach out to the Axes location nearest you or contact us online.
What is the MCL?
MCL stands for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a tough, flexible of connective tissue that connects 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 keeps the knee from moving side to side. Its primary purpose is to withstand valgus stress, or the knee being pushed unnaturally inward. 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 provides rotational stability and controls forward movement
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which crosses the ACL inside the knee and keeps the tibia from sliding back too far
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which runs along the outside of the knee from the thigh bone to the fibula (the smaller bone the small bone behind the tibia) and prevents the knee from being forced unnaturally outward
The knee is known for being one of our most complex joints. It depends on surrounding bone and muscle, and the tendons and ligaments in order to provide stability and function properly. When any knee injury, such as an MCL tear, occurs it can greatly affect your mobility and ability to do what you love most, or just get around the house pain-free. Particular physical therapy exercises and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been demonstrated through evidence to help patients reduce pain and get back to normal functionality.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
For all intents and purposes, an MCL injury is either a sprain, which stretches the ligament beyond its normal limits, 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. It’s typically a mild injury, and your knee will still be stable. Your knee will feel tender, and you may also experience mild pain.
- Grade 2 — This injury is when the MCL suffers more significant tearing, most commonly to the superficial part of the MCL. You will probably lose some stability in the joint, and your joint may be loose when moved by hand. 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 likely feel like your knee’s about to “give out.” 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.
Whatever grade MCL injury you have, the team of licensed New Melle, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, in concert with your physician, implement a comprehensive and personalized plan aimed at returning you to the life you’re used to safely.
How Do MCL Injuries Occur?
40% of all knee injuries involve damage to a ligament, and most of the time that ligament is the MCL. Most MCL injuries occur due to a force to the outside of the knee. MCL injuries can also by the knee rotating more than the ligament can stand. They can also take place when landing or unnatural bending, such as if a cleat is stuck in grass while the rest of your body moves.
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 employment.
Common Symptoms of MCL Injuries
If you suffer an MCL injury in New Melle, MO, you’ll probably notice the pain right away. Other symptoms may include:
- Hearing or feeling a popping sound or sensation
- The knee being unstable
- Inability to bear weight
- Tenderness on the inside of your knee
- Swelling, either of the MCL area 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. Any time you feel pain or instability in your knee, stop any strenuous activity immediately and schedule a physical examination in order to get a diagnosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of an MCL Injury in New Melle, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a physical examination. The exam will usually start with a doctor or physical therapist in New Melle, 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 that specialize in the musculoskeletal system in New Melle, 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 magnet and computer-generated radio waves to take detailed images of the inside of your knee
- An ultrasound, which uses sound waves and can help determine the grade of your injury
- An X-ray, which, while it won’t show the MCL or other ligaments, to insure your femur, patella, tibia, and fibula have not fractured
Alternatively, you can visit the Axes location most convenient for you for a free, no-obligation injury screening. While we will be able to diagnose your injury, Missouri law requires a prescription in order to officially begin physical therapy treatment.
How MCL Injuries are Treated in New Melle, MO
The initial treatment of an MCL injury consists of 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 with limited activity may be all you need for your body’s natural healing processes to get you back on your feet.
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 time off your feet to allow your body to heal safely. Your Axes physical therapist in New Melle, MO can fit you for a knee brace so that you don’t suffer further injury. With physical therapy, you’ll still continue icing your knee and taking anti-inflammatory pain medication.
Though rare, the most severe cases — in which the MCL is completely torn, the injury is accompanied by an ACL tear, or you are not recovering after several weeks of nonsurgical treatment — may require surgery. During the surgery, a surgeon will use a graft, either from one of your other ligaments or from another person, to reconstruct the MCL. The surgery is an outpatient procedure. If you do require surgery in New Melle, MO, our physical therapists will be able to treat you with pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation to make your surgery and recovery as successful as possible.
How Do Physical Therapists in New Melle, MO Treat MCL Injuries?
The aim of physical therapy, when dealing with any injury, is to implement safe, effective, 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 in the interest of not only recovery, but injury prevention. Depending on you and your injuries, your treatment plan may include:
- At the start, 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, weight lifting equipment, or cardio machines such as an elliptical
- 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 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 improve their performance
At Axes Physical Therapy in New Melle, MO, all of our treatment plans are as unique as each patient, and created alongside your doctor, in order to get you the best patient outcome possible and get you back to the activities you love.
Other services we offer in New Melle, 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 New Melle, 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 our clients trust us with their recovery, so we repay that trust with safe and effective treatments that are 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 Melle, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.