MCL Injury | Otto, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Otto, 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 I be sidelines for? Will I have to permanently give up the things I love doing? At Axes Physical Therapy in Otto, MO, all of our physical and occupational therapists are committed to positive patient experiences. While we’d like to be able to make your MCL injury go away, we can make your recovery safe and effective through tailored, proven treatment plans. Physical therapy has been shown time and time again to be a critical component of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in Otto, 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.
What is the MCL?
MCL an acronym for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is like a strong, firmly attached rope that attaches bones to each other 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 helps keep your knee stable and functioning normally. Its primary purpose is to guard against valgus stress, or the knee being forced too far 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 knee from bending inward
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which crosses the ACL in the middle of the knee and controls backward movement
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which connects the thigh bone to the fibula (the smaller bone in the lower leg) and provides stability to the outer knee
The knee is one of the most complex joints in the human body. A healthy knee relies 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 limit or completely restrict your mobility and ability to do what you love most, or just get around the house pain-free. Certain physical therapy techniques and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been demonstrated through research and studies to help patients manage their symptoms and return to normal mobility.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
For all intents and purposes, an MCL injury either involves a sprain, which stretches the ligament beyond its normal range of motion, or a tear, where the MCL is either partially or completely torn or separated 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 the fibers in your MCL are torn. It’s typically a mild injury, and don’t result in much instability. You will likely experience some tenderness and mild pain.
- Grade 2 — This is a more moderate tear, generally to the more fibrous part of the ligament. 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 — A grade 3 tear is a complete tear, or separation from the bone. 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.
However significant your MCL injuries, the team of professional Otto, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, along with your doctor, create an exhaustive and personalized plan to get you back to the things you love in a safe and effective manner.
What Causes MCL Injuries?
40% of all knee injuries involve damage to a ligament, and most of the time that ligament is the MCL. When you suffer a forceful trauma to the outside of your knee, it can push the knee inside far enough that the MCL strains or tears. 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 your foot stays in one place while the rest of your body moves.
MCL injuries usually occur athletes in contact sports and in sports that require a lot of cutting and jumping such as football, soccer, skiing, basketball, and tennis. They are also common in those who have to squat 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 Otto, MO, you’ll probably notice the pain right away. Other symptoms may include:
- Hearing or feeling a popping sound or feeling
- Feeling like the may give out
- Inability to bear weight
- Tenderness along the inside of the joint
- Swelling, either on the inside of the knee or the whole knee
Sometimes you may feel like your knee is “shaky”, 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 schedule a physical examination in order to get a diagnosis.
Diagnosing and Treating an MCL Injury in Otto, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a physical examination. In the examination, your Otto, MO doctor or physical therapist will go over what led to the injury, will feel for swelling and how your knee is different from your healthy knee, and gently see if your knee is unstanble while bending inward, and your pain level.
Most physical therapists or doctors that specialize in the musculoskeletal system in Otto, MO are qualified to determine if you have an MCL injury with a physical examination. Other tests to check severity or to confirm may include:
- An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), which uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of your knee
- An ultrasound, which uses sound waves and can help determine how severely the MCL is torn
- An X-ray, which, while it won’t show the MCL or other ligaments, to insure your femur, patella, tibia, and fibula have not been broken
You can also come to the Axes location nearest you for a complimentary, no-obligation injury screening. While we can offer you an evaluation, Missouri Revised Statute §334.506 stipulates that physical therapy be prescribed by a doctor.
How MCL Injuries are Treated in Otto, MO
The initial treatment of an MCL injury consists of basic first aid: inflammation reduction, reducing pain, and implementing 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 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 function and get you 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 Otto, MO will be able to 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 uncommon, 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 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 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 Otto, MO Treat MCL Injuries?
For recovering from any injury, a physically therapist will design 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 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, passive motions performed by your physical therapist to slowly get the ligament used to normal motion again
- More active exercises and stretches later to further develop strength and flexibility
- Exercises with elastic bands, weights, or cardio machines such as treadmill
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, which studies show can accelerate knee ligament healing
- Kinesio Taping®, which keeps the knee stable and encourages normal motion
- Trigger point dry needling to stimulate harder-to-reach tissue
- Blood flow restriction training to help you make greater strength gains while lifting lighter weights
- Athletic training and sports therapy for those whose main goal is to get back onto the court or field
At Axes Physical Therapy in Otto, MO, all of our treatment plans are as unique as each patient, and created alongside your doctor, in order to deliver you the best client experience and get you back to doing what you love to do most.
Other services we offer in Otto, 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 Otto, 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 you place a lot of trust in your physical therapists, so the treatment method we plan for you will be safe and backed by evidence. As part of our program, we’ll educate you on your injury and how the knee works so you can stay as healthy and active as possible. For meaningful and lasting recovery from your MCL injury in Otto, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.