MCL Injury | Ozark View, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Ozark View, 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 I be sidelines for? Will my knee ever be the same again? At Axes Physical Therapy in Ozark View, MO, all of our physical and occupational therapists are dedicated to positive patient outcomes. While we can’t, we can help ensure you get back to feeling like yourself with safe, effective treatments. Physical therapy has proven to be an integral part of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in Ozark View, MO are all licensed and average more than 15 years of individual experience. 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 like a strong, firmly attached rope that connects bones to each other and helps hold structures with the musculoskeletal system together. 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 pushed unnaturally inward. It combines with three other ligaments that work together to support normal function and stability:
- ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), which runs down the center of your knee and controls rotation and controls forward movement
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which crosses the ACL in the middle of the knee and controls backward movement
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which attaches 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. Optimal structure and movement depends on surrounding bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. There are numerous knee injuries that can limit or completely restrict your mobility and compete like you’re used to, or just live a pain-free day-to-day life. Specific physical therapy exercises and other treatment modalities, prescribed by a doctor, have been demonstrated through evidence to help patients manage their symptoms and get back to optimal mobility.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
For all intents and purposes, an MCL injury either involves a sprain, which stretches the ligament farther than is naturally, 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 sprain or tear means that the ligament has been stretched, and less than 10% of the the fibers in your MCL are torn. These injuries are typically not especially painful or debilitating, and your knee will still be stable. Symptoms will likely be tenderness and mild pain.
- Grade 2 — This injury is when the MCL suffers more significant tearing, generally 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. Symptoms of a grade 2 MCL injury generally include much more noticeable pain.
- 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 intense pain and a wide array of symptoms. Grade 3 MCL injuries often occur alongside other knee injuries such as ACL tears.
Whatever grade MCL injury you have, the team of professional Ozark View, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, alongside your physician, create an exhaustive and tailored plan to get you back to the things you love in a safe and effective manner.
How Do MCL Injuries Occur?
40% of all knee injuries involve damage to a ligament, and most of the time that ligament is the MCL. MCL injuries occur due to the knee suddenly being forced too far inward. MCL injuries can also occur if the knee is rotated too forcefully. They can also happen because of landing or excessive bending, such as if a cleat is stuck in grass while you’re moving.
MCL injuries usually occur athletes in contact sports and in activities that require a lot of sudden movement such as football, soccer, skiing, basketball, and tennis. They are also common in those who lift weights or lift heavy objects at their employment.
Common Symptoms of MCL Injuries
Most MCL injuries are accompanied by immediate, noticeable pain. Other symptoms may include:
- A sudden “pop” on the inside of your knee
- Pain or discomfort when trying to bear weight
- Tenderness along the inside of the joint
- Inflammation, either of the MCL area or the whole knee
Sometimes your knee may feel like your knee is loose when you walk, even if walking doesn’t hurt, 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.
Diagnosing and Treating an MCL Injury in Ozark View, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a physical examination. The exam will usually start with a doctor or physical therapist in Ozark View, 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 the musculoskeletal system in Ozark View, MO will be able to determine if you have 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 computer-generated radio waves to take three-dimensional images of your soft tissue
- An ultrasound, which uses sound waves and can help determine how severely the ligament is torn
- An X-ray, which does not show soft tissue, to insure your femur, kneecap, tibia, and fibula have not been broken
Alternatively, you can come to the Axes location nearest you for a free, no-obligation injury screening. While we will be able to diagnose your injury, Missouri law stipulates that physical therapy be prescribed by a doctor.
How to Treat and MCL Injury in Ozark View, MO
The initial treatment of an MCL injury consists of basic first aid: reducing swelling, easing discomfort, and using 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 some time spent resting may be sufficient for your body to heal itself.
Professional physical therapy is needed for more severe tears to restore strength and function and get you back to racing down or around the court or field. You’ll also need to refrain from most physical activity for an even longer period. Your Axes physical therapist in Ozark View, 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 uncommon, the worst grade 1 tears — 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 carried out by using a graft, either from one of your other ligaments or an organ donor, to reconstruct the ligament. The surgery is an outpatient procedure. If you do require surgery in Ozark View, MO, our physical therapists will be able to help you with pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation, which ensures that your knee will be healthy enough for the surgery, and you’ll build back strength safely after the surgery.
How Do Physical Therapists in Ozark View, 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 as an individual. These treatments and exercises will, over time, build 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. Depending on you and your injuries, your treatment plan may include:
- To begin, passive movements carried about by your physical therapist to help restore normal functionality
- 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 research suggests can accelerate knee ligament healing
- Kinesio Taping®, which keeps the knee stable 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 Ozark View, MO, all of our treatment plans are designed individually to each patient, proven through peer-reviewed research, and created with the help of your physician, in order to get you the best patient outcome possible and get you back to doing what you love to do most.
Other services we offer in Ozark View, MO include:
- Shin Splint Treatment
- Direct Access Physical Therapy
- Gait Analysis
- Pelvic Floor Therapy
- Dry Needling Near Me
- Tendonitis Treatment
- Manual Physical Therapy
- Orthopedic Rehab Near Me
- Beginner Running Program
- Chronic Pain Treatment
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Ozark View, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury is scary and anxiety-inducing at first, 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 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 Ozark View, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.