MCL Injury | Peerless Park, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Peerless Park, MO. For many people who maintain an active lifestyle, feeling that sudden “pop” in their knee creates a lot of anxiety: 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 Peerless Park, MO, we are driven by positive patient outcomes. While we can’t, we can help ensure you get back to feeling like yourself with safe, evidence-backed treatments. Physical therapy has been shown time and time again to be an essential part of any treatment plan for MCL injuries. Our physical therapists in Peerless Park, MO specialize helping a variety of injuries and conditions in the musculoskeletal system heal. For lasting and meaningful recovery, call the Axes location nearest 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 bone to bone and helps hold structures with the body 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 moving normally. Its main purpose is to resist valgus stress, or the knee being pushed 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 provides rotational stability and controls forward movement
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which forms an “X” with the ACL inside the knee and prevents excessive posterior translation of the tibia relative to the femur
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which runs along the outside of the knee from the femur to the fibula (the smaller bone in the lower leg) and prevents the knee from being forced too far outward
The knee is one of the biggest joints in the human body. Optimal structure and function depends on surrounding bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. There are countless knee injuries that can greatly affect your mobility and ability to do what you love most, or just live a pain-free day-to-day life. Certain physical therapy exercises and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been proven to help those who have suffered an MCL injury manage their symptoms and return to normal mobility.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
In general, an MCL injury either involves a sprain, wherein the MCL is stretched beyond its normal range of motion, or a tear, where the ligament 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. It’s typically a mild injury, and your knee largely remains stable. You will likely experience some tenderness and some soreness.
- Grade 2 — This is more significant tearing, 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 moved by hand. Pain is much more severe in a grade 2 MCL injury.
- Grade 3 — This occurs when your MCL is entirely torn, both the fibrous and deep parts. Your knee will be significantly unstable. Pain will be intense and you’ll likely feel 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 licensed Peerless Park, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, alongside your physician, create an extensive and tailored plan to get you back to the things you love without incurring further injury.
What Causes MCL Injuries?
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 physical trauma on the outside of the knee. MCL injuries can also by the knee rotating too forcefully. They can also happen because of landing or awkward bending, such as if a cleat is stuck in grass while your leg keeps moving.
Athletes in contact sports are the most likely to sustain an MCL injury. 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 sudden, noticeable pain. Other symptoms may include:
- A sudden “pop” on the inside of your knee
- Inability to bear weight
- Tenderness along the inside of the joint
- Inflammation, either of the MCL area or the whole knee
Sometimes you may feel like your knee is “shaky”, or in other cases the knee feels too rigid. Any time you feel pain or instability in your knee, stop any strenuous activity immediately and seek medical treatment for a diagnosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of an MCL Injury in Peerless Park, MO
MCL injuries are diagnosed in a doctor’s office, urgent care or at a physical therapy center. In the examination, your Peerless Park, 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 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 Peerless Park, MO will be able 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 magnet and radio waves to create 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
Alternatively, you can schedule and appointment with the Axes location most convenient for you for a free, no-obligation injury screening. While we will be able to diagnose your injury, Missouri law mandates a prescription in order to officially begin physical therapy treatment.
How MCL Injuries are Treated in Peerless Park, MO
Typically, treating an MCL injury begins with basic first aid: swelling reduction, reducing 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, pain and swelling relievers, and some time with limited activity may be enough for your body to heal itself.
More significant 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 until your knee is strong again. Your Axes physical therapist in Peerless Park, MO can fit you for a knee brace to give your knee stability while it’s healing. Even with physical therapy, you’ll likely still continue the R.I.C.E. method and over-the-counter meds.
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 structures of the knee. The surgery is performed by using 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 Do Physical Therapists in Peerless Park, MO Treat MCL Injuries?
For recovering from any injury, a physically therapist will implement safe and evidence-backed exercises, each aimed at helping a specific part of the body get back to optimal movement health. Physical therapy slowly and effectively improves strength in the surrounding muscles, flexibility of soft tissue, 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:
- At the start, passive motions carried about by your physical therapist to slowly get the knee used to normal motion again
- Exercised performed by you later to regain strength
- Exercises with resistant bands, weight lifting equipment, 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 encourages normal function
- Trigger point dry needling to further help the body’s natural healing process
- 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 Peerless Park, MO, all of our treatment plans are designed specifically for you, backed by empirical evidence, and created in concert with your physician, 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 Peerless Park, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Peerless Park, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury is scary and anxiety-inducing at first, especially if you’re an athlete, but with our help, you can get back to how you used to feel. 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 Peerless Park, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.