MCL Injury | New Town, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in New Town, MO. For many people who maintain an active lifestyle, feeling that sudden “pop” in their knee creates a lot of anxiety: Did I injure my MCL? Is it significant? How long will it take to recover? Will I ever be able to perform at the same level again? At Axes Physical Therapy in New Town, MO, we are driven by getting our clients 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 personalized, proven treatment plans. Physical therapy has proven to be an integral aspect of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in New Town, MO are movement health experts. For treatment plans you know will be effective, reach out to the Axes location most convenient for you you or contact us online.
What is the MCL?
MCL is an abbreviation for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a fibrous of connective tissue that attaches bones to each other 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 moving normally. Its chief purpose is to resist valgus stress, or the knee being pushed unnaturally inward. It combines with three other ligaments to keep the knee stable:
- 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 crosses the ACL in the middle of the knee and acts as a secondary front and back stabilizer
- 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 gives stability to the outer knee
The knee is one of the largest joints in the human body. It depends 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 compete like you’re used to, or just get around the house pain-free. Certain physical therapy techniques and other treatment modalities, prescribed by a doctor, have been demonstrated through research and studies to help patients manage their symptoms and return to normal functionality.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
In general, an MCL injury is either 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 levels:
- 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 soreness.
- Grade 2 — This is a more moderate tear, most commonly to the more fibrous part of the MCL. You will probably lose some stability in your knee, and your joint may be loose when manipulated manually. Symptoms of a grade 2 MCL injury generally include much more noticeable pain.
- Grade 3 — This occurs when your MCL is entirely torn, both the superficial and deep parts. Your knee will be significantly unstable. 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.
Whatever grade MCL injury you have, our qualified New Town, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, in concert with your physician, implement an exhaustive plan uniquely made for you and your injuries to get you back to the activities your love most without incurring further injury.
MCL Injuries: Causes and Symptoms
Ligament injuries account for 40% of all knee injuries, and most of the time that ligament is the MCL. Most people often suffer and MCL injury because of physical trauma on the exterior of the knee. MCL injuries can also occur if the knee is rotated too forcefully. They can also take place when 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 activities 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 lift weights or lift heavy objects at their work.
Common Symptoms of MCL Injuries
If you suffer an MCL injury in New Town, MO, you’ll probably notice the pain right away. Other symptoms may include:
- A sudden “pop” on the inside of your knee
- Not being able to put any weight on the knee
- Tenderness along the inside of the joint
- Swelling, either where the MCL is located or the whole knee
Sometimes you may feel a “wobbly” sensation, or in other cases 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 seek medical treatment for a diagnosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of an MCL Injury in New Town, MO
MCL injuries are diagnosed in a physical examination. The examination will usually start with a doctor or physical therapist in New Town, MO asking how the injury occurred. They’ll then bend your knee and apply slight pressure to the outside of it, noting your pain level and if your knee feels structurally sound. 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 mobility of the human body in New Town, MO are qualified to diagnose an MCL injury with a physical examination. 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 radio waves to take three-dimensional images of the knee joint
- An ultrasound, which uses sound waves and can help determine how severely the MCL is torn
- An X-ray, which does not show soft tissue, may be ordered for a severe MCL injury to ensure there are no broken bones
Alternatively, you can schedule and appointment with the Axes location nearest you for a complimentary, no-obligation injury screening. While we will be able to diagnose your injury, Missouri Revised Statute §334.506 mandates that physical therapy be prescribed by a doctor.
Treating an MCL Injury in New Town, MO
Right after your MCL injury, you should start with basic first aid: reducing swelling, reducing 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 a few days or week or two of rest may be all you need to get mostly back to normal.
Professional physical therapy is needed for grade 2 and 3 tears to restore strength and function and get you back to the activities you love. You’ll also need to refrain from rigorous until your knee is strong again. Your Axes physical therapist in New Town, MO can fit you for a knee brace in order to prevent your knee from becoming more instable 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.
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. The surgery is performed by using a graft, either from your hamstring or from another person, to reattach the torn sections. You would not have to be hospitalized overnight. If you do require surgery in New Town, MO, our physical therapists specialize in pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation get you the best possible results from your surgery.
How Do Physical Therapists in New Town, MO Treat MCL Injuries?
For recovering from any injury, a physically therapist will design 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 in the interest of not only recovery, but injury prevention. Depending on you and your injuries, your treatment plan may include:
- To begin, light movements performed by your physical therapist to help restore normal functionality
- Exercised performed by you later to regain strength
- Exercises with resistant bands, weights, 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 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 athletes who want to reduce the risk of reinjury
At Axes Physical Therapy in New Town, MO, all of our treatment plans are designed individually to each patient, proven through peer-reviewed research, and created in concert with your physician, in order to get you the best patient outcome possible and get you back to the activities you love.
Other injuries we help treat in New Town, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in New Town, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury is scary and anxiety-inducing at first, especially if you’re an athlete, but with our help, the ailment is only temporary. We know our clients trust us with their recovery, 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 anatomy of the knee so you can stay as healthy and active as possible. For meaningful and lasting recovery from your MCL injury in New Town, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.