MCL Injury | Osage Hills, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Osage Hills, MO. If someone plays sports or engages in other physical activity, it’s easy to fear the worst when you feel sudden pain on the inside of your knee: Did I injure my MCL? How bad is the injury? How long will it take to recover? Will this be the end of my athletic career? At Axes Physical Therapy in Osage Hills, MO, we are driven by positive patient outcomes. While we’d like to be able to magically fix your MCL, we can make your recovery safe and effective through personalized, proven treatment plans. Physical therapy has been shown time and time again to be a critical part of any treatment plan for MCL injuries. Our physical therapists in Osage Hills, MO are all licensed and average more than 15 years of individual experience. For treatment plans you know will be effective, call the Axes location nearest you or contact us online.
What is the MCL?
MCL stands for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is like a strong, firmly attached rope that affixes 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 functions to guard against valgus pressure, or the knee being forced too far towards the other one. It is one of four ligaments in 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 forms an “X” with the ACL in the middle of the knee and the femur from sliding off the tibia
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which connects the thigh bone 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 function depends on surrounding bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. There are numerous knee injuries that can greatly affect your mobility and compete like you’re used to, or just get around the house pain-free. Particular physical therapy exercises and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been proven to help patients manage their symptoms and get back to optimal movement health.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
Generally speaking, an MCL injury is either a sprain, which stretches the ligament farther than is naturally, or a tear, where the ligament is either partially or completely torn or separated 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 the fibers in your MCL are torn. These are not generally severe, and your knee largely remains stable. Your knee will feel tender, and you may also experience soreness.
- Grade 2 — This is more significant tearing, most commonly to the superficial part of the ligament. You will probably lose some stability in your knee, and the knee will likely be loose when manipulated manually. A grade 2 injury will result in significantly more pain than a grade 2 MCL injury.
- Grade 3 — A grade 3 tear is a complete tear, or separation from the bone. You will retain little to no stability. You will likely experience intense pain and a wide array of symptoms. The injury may actually caused by or accompanied by other serious knee injuries such as ACL tears.
However significant your MCL injuries, the team of professional Osage Hills, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, as a team with your doctor, develop a comprehensive plan specially made for you and your injuries to get you back to the activities your love most safely.
MCL Injuries: Causes and Symptoms
40% of all knee injuries involve damage to the MCL, LCL, ACL, or PCL, 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 too forcefully. They can also occur because of 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 employment.
Common Symptoms of MCL Injuries
Most people feel pain immediately on the inside of the joint when they experience an MCL sprain or tear. 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 where the MCL is located or the whole knee
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.
Diagnosis and Treatment of an MCL Injury in Osage Hills, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a physical examination. In the examination, your Osage Hills, 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 Osage Hills, MO will be able 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 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 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
Alternatively, you can come to 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 requires that physical therapy be prescribed by a doctor.
Treating an MCL Injury in Osage Hills, 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 grade 1 injuries, the R.I.C.E method, over-the-counter pain relievers, and a few days or week or two of rest may be enough for your body to heal itself.
Grade 2 or 3 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 to refrain from most physical activity for an even longer period. Your Axes physical therapist in Osage Hills, MO will be able to fit you for a knee brace in order to prevent your knee from bending too far inward while your MCL is still healing. With physical therapy, you’ll still continue icing your knee and taking anti-inflammatory pain medication.
Though rare, the worst grade 1 tears — in which the MCL is completely torn, the injury is accompanied by an ACL tear, or nonsurgical treatment just isn’t working — may require surgery. During the surgery, a surgeon will use a graft, either from your hamstring or an organ donor, to reconstruct the MCL. The surgery is an outpatient procedure. If your doctor thinks surgery is necessary, our physical therapists specialize in pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation to make your surgery and recovery as successful as possible.
How Can Physical Therapy in Osage Hills, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
For recovering from any injury, a physically therapist will design safe and evidence-backed treatments, each aimed at helping a specific part of the body regain a specific level or function. 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 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, passive motions performed by your physical therapist to slowly get the ligament used to normal motion again
- More active exercises and stretches later to regain strength
- Exercises with resistant bands, weights, or cardio machines such as a stationary bike
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, which studies show can 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 Osage Hills, MO, all of our treatment plans are as unique as each patient, and created with the help of your doctor, in order to deliver you the best client experience and get you back to the activities you love.
Other services we offer in Osage Hills, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Osage Hills, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury can be painful and frightening, especially if you’re used to being physically active, 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. 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 Osage Hills, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.