MCL Injury | Oakville, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Oakville, 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 injure my MCL? How bad is the injury? How long will I be sidelines for? Will this be the end of my athletic career? At Axes Physical Therapy in Oakville, MO, we are driven by getting our patients back to the activities they love most. While we can’t, we can make your recovery safe and effective through tailored, evidence-based treatment plans. Physical therapy has proven to be a fundamental component of any treatment plan for MCL injuries. Our physical therapists in Oakville, MO are movement health experts. For treatment plans you know will be effective, call the Axes location most convenient for you you or schedule an appointment online.
How the MCL Works
MCL stands for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a fibrous of connective tissue that attaches bone to bone 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 keeps the knee from moving side to side. Its main purpose is to withstand valgus pressure, or the knee being forced unnaturally towards the other one. 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 knee from bending inward
- 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 runs along the outside of the knee from 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 known for being one of our most complex joints. Correct structure and movement depends on surrounding bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. There are countless knee injuries that can greatly affect your mobility and ability to do what you love most, or just live a pain-free day-to-day life. Certain physical therapy techniques and other treatment modalities, prescribed by a doctor, have been proven to help patients reduce pain and return to normal mobility.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
In general, an MCL injury is either a sprain, which stretches the ligament beyond its normal range of motion, or a tear, where the ligament is either partially or completely torn or separated from the bone. There are three grades to MCL injuries:
- 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 are not generally severe, and your knee will still be stable. Symptoms will likely be tenderness and some soreness.
- Grade 2 — This is a more moderate tear, usually to the middle layer of the MCL. You will probably lose some stability in the joint, and the knee will likely be loose when moved by hand. A grade 2 injury will result in significantly more pain than a grade 2 MCL injury.
- Grade 3 — This occurs when your MCL is entirely torn, both the superficial and deep parts. 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. The injury may actually caused by or accompanied by other serious knee injuries such as ACL tears.
Whatever grade MCL injury you have, the team of expert Oakville, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, in concert with your physician, implement an extensive plan specially made for you and your injuries to get you back to the activities your love most in a safe and effective manner.
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 people often suffer and MCL injury because of a force to the outer edge of the knee. MCL injuries can also occur if the knee is rotated too forcefully. They can also occur because of landing or awkward bending, such as if a cleat is stuck in grass while you’re moving.
MCL injuries are common in athletes in contact sports and in athletic events that require a lot of cutting and jumping such as football, soccer, skiing, basketball, and tennis. They can also occur in people who have to hunch over and lift heavy objects, either for athletic training or in the course of their employment.
Common Symptoms of MCL Injuries
If you suffer an MCL injury in Oakville, MO, you’ll probably notice the pain right away. Other symptoms may include:
- Hearing or feeling a popping noise or sensation
- The knee being unstable
- Not being able to put any weight on the knee
- Tenderness where the MCL is located
- Inflammation, either of the MCL area 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, do not participate in any more strenuous activity and schedule a physical examination in order to get a diagnosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of an MCL Injury in Oakville, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a doctor’s office, emergency room or at a physical therapy center. The exam will usually start with a doctor or physical therapist in Oakville, 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 mobility of the human body in Oakville, MO will be able 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 magnetic field and computer-generated radio waves to take three-dimensional images of the knee joint
- An ultrasound, which uses sound waves and can be helpful in checking the severity of your injury
- An X-ray, which does not show soft tissue, to insure your femur, patella, 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 law stipulates a prescription for further physical therapy.
How to Treat and MCL Injury in Oakville, MO
Right after your MCL injury, you should start with basic first aid: swelling reduction, managing pain, and implementing the R.I.C.E. Method of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. For mild injuries, the R.I.C.E method, pain and swelling relievers, and a few days or week or two of rest may be sufficient for your body’s natural healing processes to get you back on your feet.
Professional physical therapy is needed for grade 2 and 3 injuries to restore strength and optimal range of motion and get you back to the activities you love. You’ll also need to refrain from strenuous until your knee is strong again. Your Axes physical therapist in Oakville, MO will be able to fit you for a knee brace to give your knee stability while it’s 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 one of your other ligaments or an organ donor, to reattach the torn sections. You would not have to be hospitalized overnight. If your doctor thinks surgery is necessary, our physical therapists are experts at pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation, which ensures that your knee will be healthy enough for the ligament reconstruction, and you’ll safely restore, strength, flexibility, and range of motion after.
How Can Physical Therapy in Oakville, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
For recovering from any injury, a physically therapist will design safe, effective, and evidence-backed treatment methods based on each patient as an individual. Physical therapy slowly and effectively improves strength in the strength in the muscles that power the joint, flexibility of ligaments and tendons, 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:
- At the start, light motions 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, weights, or cardio machines such as a stationary bike
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, which has been proven to help accelerate knee ligament healing
- Kinesio Taping®, which provides further stability while your body heals 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 Oakville, MO, all of our treatment plans are designed specifically for you, proven through peer-reviewed research, and created alongside 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 Oakville, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Oakville, 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 there’s no reason it has to put you on the sideline forever. We know our clients trust us with their recovery, 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 Oakville, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.