MCL Injury | Olympian Village, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Olympian Village, 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? 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 Olympian Village, 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 magically fix your MCL, we can make your recovery safe and effective through customized, evidence-based treatment plans. Physical therapy has been shown time and time again to be a fundamental component of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in Olympian Village, MO are movement health experts. For lasting and meaningful recovery, reach out to the Axes location most convenient for you you or contact us online.
How the MCL Works
MCL is an abbreviation for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a tough band 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 maintains stability in the inner knee. Its chief purpose is to withstand valgus pressure, or the knee being forced unnaturally inward. It is one of four ligaments that help control the knee, along with the:
- ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), which runs down the center of your knee and controls rotation and prevents the knee from bending inward
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which crosses the ACL inside the knee and controls backward movement
- 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 provides stability to the outer knee
The knee is one of the largest joints we have. Correct structure and movement depends on surrounding bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. There are numerous knee injuries that can have tremendous consequences for your mobility and ability to do what you love most, or just live a pain-free day-to-day life. Specific physical therapy exercises and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been demonstrated through research and analysis to help patients mitigate pain and swelling and return to normal mobility.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
For all intents and purposes, 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 tiers:
- 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 your knee will still be stable. You will likely experience some tenderness and mild pain.
- Grade 2 — This is 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 — This injury is a complete tear to both the superficial and deep parts. You will likely feel like your knee’s about to buckle. You will likely experience significant pain and 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 expert Olympian Village, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, along with your physician, create a comprehensive and personalized plan to get you back to the activities your love most without incurring further injury.
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 physical trauma on the outer edge of the knee. MCL injuries can also occur if the knee is rotated too forcefully. They can also take place when landing or unnatural 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 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 Olympian Village, MO, you’ll likely notice the pain right away. Other symptoms may include:
- Hearing or feeling a popping sound or sensation
- The knee being unstable
- Pain or discomfort when trying to bear weight
- Tenderness on the inside of your knee
- Inflammation, either of the MCL area or the whole knee
Sometimes you may feel a “wobbly” sensation, or in other cases the knee feels too stiff. 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 Olympian Village, MO
MCL injuries are diagnosed in a doctor’s office, emergency room or at a physical therapy center. The exam will usually start with a doctor or physical therapist in Olympian Village, 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 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 the musculoskeletal system in Olympian Village, 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 magnetic field and radio waves to take three-dimensional images of the inside of your knee
- An ultrasound, which uses sound waves and can help determine how severely the ligament is torn
- An X-ray, which, while it won’t show the MCL or other ligaments, to insure your femur, kneecap, tibia, and fibula have not fractured
Axes Physical Therapy also offers injury screening injury screenings at no cost or obligation to you. While we can offer you an evaluation, Missouri law mandates a prescription for further physical therapy.
How MCL Injuries are Treated in Olympian Village, MO
Right after your MCL injury, you should start 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, over-the-counter pain relievers, and some time with limited activity may be sufficient for your body to heal itself.
Professional physical therapy is needed for grade 2 and 3 injuries to restore strength and function and get you back to the activities you love. You’ll also need time resting to allow your body to heal safely. Your Axes physical therapist in Olympian Village, MO will be able to fit you for a knee brace so that you don’t suffer further injury. 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 one of your other ligaments or from another person, 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 build back strength safely after the surgery.
How Can Physical Therapy in Olympian Village, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
For recovering from any injury, a physically therapist will implement safe, effective, and evidence-backed treatment methods based on each patient as an individual. Physical therapy slowly and effectively improves strength in the surrounding muscles, flexibility of soft tissue, and range of motion to the knee in the interest of not only recovery, but injury prevention. A physical therapist may recommend and implement the following practices:
- To begin, light movements performed by your physical therapist to slowly get the joint used to normal motion again
- More active exercises and stretches later to further develop strength and flexibility
- Exercises with resistant bands, weights, or cardio machines such as an elliptical
- 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 improve strength 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 Olympian Village, MO, all of our treatment plans are designed individually to each patient, proven through peer-reviewed research, and created in concert with your doctor, in order to get you the best patient outcome possible and get you back to the activities you love.
Other conditions we help treat in Olympian Village, MO include:
- Vestibular Therapy
- Concussion Treatment
- Soft Tissue Mobilization
- Post Surgical Rehabilitation
- Shin Splint Treatment
- Direct Access Physical Therapy
- Gait Analysis
- Pelvic Floor Therapy
- Dry Needling Near Me
- Tendonitis Treatment
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Olympian Village, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury is scary and anxiety-inducing at first, especially if you’re an athlete, but there’s no reason it has to put you on the sideline forever. 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 structures of the knee so you can stay as healthy and active as possible. For meaningful and lasting recovery from your MCL injury in Olympian Village, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.