MCL Injury | Parkdale, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Parkdale, MO. For many athletes and physically active people, 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 I be sidelines for? Will I ever be able to perform at the same level again? At Axes Physical Therapy in Parkdale, MO, we are driven by getting our clients back to sprinting down the court. While we can’t, we can make your recovery safe and effective through customized, proven treatment plans. Physical therapy has been shown time and time again to be an essential aspect of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in Parkdale, MO specialize helping a variety of injuries and conditions in the musculoskeletal system heal. 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 stands for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a tough band of connective tissue that attaches bones to each other and helps hold structures with the musculoskeletal system together. The MCL connects your upper shin bone to the inner surface of the bottom thigh bone, running along your inner knee, and helps keep your knee stable and functioning normally. Its functions to resist valgus pressure, or the knee being pushed too far towards the other one. It combines with three other ligaments that work together to support normal function and stability:
- ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), which goes through the middle of your knee and provides rotational stability and prevents the tibia from sliding too far forward on the femur
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which crosses the ACL in the middle of the knee and prevents excessive posterior translation of the tibia relative to the femur
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which connects the femur to the fibula (the smaller bone in the lower leg) and prevents the knee from being pushed unnaturally outward
The knee is one of the most complex joints we have. Healthy structure and movement depends on surrounding bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. When any knee injury, such as an MCL tear, occurs it can have tremendous consequences for your mobility and compete like you’re used to, or just complete basic tasks pain-free. Specific physical therapy techniques and other treatment modalities, prescribed by a doctor, have been proven to help those who have suffered an MCL injury reduce pain 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, wherein the MCL is stretched beyond its normal limits, 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 injuries are typically not especially painful or debilitating, and your knee largely remains 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 MCL. You will probably lose some stability in the joint, and your joint may be loose when moved by hand. 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.
Whatever grade MCL injury you have, the team of qualified Parkdale, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, in concert with your physician, develop a comprehensive plan uniquely made for you and your injuries aimed at returning you to the life you’re used to safely.
How Do MCL Injuries Occur?
40% of all knee injuries involve damage to a ligament, and the MCL is the most commonly injured ligament. Most people often suffer and MCL injury because of a blow to the exterior of the knee. MCL injuries can also by the knee rotating too forcefully. They can also take place when 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 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 squat and lift heavy objects, either for athletic training or in the course of 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
- The knee being unstable
- Inability to bear weight
- Tenderness on the inside of your knee
- Inflammation, either where the MCL is located or the entire knee joint
Sometimes you may feel a “wobbly” sensation, or in other cases 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 seek medical treatment for a diagnosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of an MCL Injury in Parkdale, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a physical examination. The examination will usually start with a doctor or physical therapist in Parkdale, 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 physicians that specialize in mobility of the human body in Parkdale, 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 produce 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, to insure your femur, patella, tibia, and fibula have not fractured
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 MCL Injuries are Treated in Parkdale, MO
Right after your MCL injury, you should start with basic first aid: reducing swelling, reducing pain, and utilizing 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 some time spent off your feet may be sufficient for your body to heal itself.
Professional physical therapy is needed for grade 2 and 3 tears to restore strength and function and get you back to racing down or around the court or field. You’ll also need time resting to allow your body to heal safely. Your Axes physical therapist in Parkdale, MO can fit you for a knee brace in order to prevent your knee from bending too far inward 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 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 carried out by using a graft, either from one of your other ligaments or an organ donor, to reattach the torn sections. The surgery is an outpatient procedure. If you do require surgery in Parkdale, MO, our physical therapists will be able to treat 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 Parkdale, MO Treat MCL Injuries?
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 get back to optimal movement health. These treatments and exercises will, over time, build strength in the strength in the muscles that power the knee, flexibility of ligaments and tendons, and range of motion to the knee 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, light motions carried about by your physical therapist to slowly get the ligament 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 an elliptical
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, which has been proven to help 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 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 Parkdale, MO, all of our treatment plans are as unique as each patient, and created with the help of your physician, in order to get you the best patient outcome possible and get you back to the activities you love.
Other services we offer in Parkdale, 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 Parkdale, 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 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. 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 Parkdale, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.