MCL Injury | Pinckney, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Pinckney, MO. For many people who maintain an active lifestyle, feeling that sudden “pop” in their knee creates a lot of doubts: Did I injure my MCL? 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 Pinckney, MO, all of our physical and occupational therapists are committed to positive patient experiences. While we’d like to be able to magically fix your MCL, we can help ensure you get back to feeling like yourself with safe, effective treatments. Physical therapy has been shown time and time again to be an essential component of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in Pinckney, MO are movement health experts. For lasting and meaningful recovery, reach out to the Axes location nearest you or request an appointment online.
What is the MCL?
MCL an acronym for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is like a strong, firmly attached rope that attaches bone to bone and keeps joints stable. The MCL runs from the inside of your upper shin bone to the inside of your bottoms thigh bone and keeps the knee from moving side to side. Its primary purpose is to guard against valgus stress, or the knee being forced unnaturally inward. It is one of four ligaments that help control 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 crosses the ACL inside the knee and controls backward movement
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which runs along the outside of the knee from the thigh bone 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 largest joints we have. It depends 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 compete like you’re used to, or just complete basic tasks pain-free. Particular physical therapy techniques and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been demonstrated through research and studies to help patients mitigate pain and swelling and return to normal mobility.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
For all intents and purposes, an MCL injury is either a sprain, which stretches the ligament beyond its normal limits, 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 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 will still be stable. You will likely experience some tenderness and some soreness.
- Grade 2 — This is a more moderate tear, generally to the more fibrous part of the ligament. You will probably lose some stability in the joint, 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. Your knee will be significantly unstable. You will likely feel significant pain and a wide array of symptoms. Grade 3 MCL injuries often occur alongside other knee injuries such as ACL tears.
However significant your MCL injuries, our expert Pinckney, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, along with your physician, implement a comprehensive plan specially made for you and your injuries to get you back to the things you love without incurring further injury.
How Do MCL Injuries Occur?
Ligament injuries account for 40% of all knee injuries, and most of the time that ligament is the MCL. Most MCL injuries occur due to physical trauma on the outside of the knee. MCL injuries can also occur if the knee is rotated more than the ligament can stand. They can also happen because of landing or excessive bending, such as if a cleat is stuck in grass while the rest of your body moves.
MCL injuries are common in athletes in contact sports and in activities that require a lot of sudden movement such as football, soccer, skiing, basketball, and tennis. They can also occur in people who have to hunch over and lift heavy objects, either for athletic training or in the course of their employment.
Common Symptoms of MCL Injuries
Most people feel pain immediately on the inside of the knee 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 on the inside of your knee
- Inflammation, either where the MCL is located or the entire knee joint
Sometimes you may feel like your knee is “shaky”, or in other cases you’ll barely be able to move the knee. Any time you feel pain or instability in your knee, stop any strenuous activity immediately and schedule a physical examination in order to get a diagnosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of an MCL Injury in Pinckney, MO
MCL injuries are diagnosed in a doctor’s office, urgent care or at a physical therapy center. In the examination, your Pinckney, 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 check for stability.
Most physical therapists or physicians that specialize in mobility of the human body in Pinckney, MO are qualified to diagnose 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 computer-generated radio waves to produce three-dimensional images of the knee joint
- An ultrasound, which uses sound waves and can help determine the grade of your injury
- An X-ray, which, while it won’t show the MCL or other ligaments, to insure your femur, kneecap, tibia, and fibula have not been broken
Axes Physical Therapy also offers injury screening injury screenings at no cost or obligation to you. While we can determine if you have suffered an MCL injury, Missouri Revised Statute §334.506 mandates that physical therapy be prescribed by a doctor.
How to Treat and MCL Injury in Pinckney, MO
Typically, treating an MCL injury begins with basic first aid: inflammation reduction, easing pain, and implementing 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 a few days or week or two of rest may be sufficient for your body to heal itself.
Professional physical therapy is needed for grade 2 and 3 injuries to restore strength and function and get you back to racing down or around the court or field. You’ll also need time off your feet to allow your body to heal safely. Your Axes physical therapist in Pinckney, 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.
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 carried out by using a graft, either from one of your other ligaments or from another person, to reconstruct the ligament. The surgery is an outpatient procedure. If your doctor thinks surgery is necessary, our physical therapists specialize in pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation get you the best possible results from your surgery.
How Can Physical Therapy in Pinckney, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
The goal of physical therapy, when dealing with any injury, is to create safe, effective, and evidence-backed treatment methods based on each patient as an individual. 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 movements carried about by your physical therapist to slowly get the MCL used to normal motion again
- Exercised performed by you later to further develop strength and flexibility
- Exercises with elastic bands, weight lifting equipment, or cardio machines such as a stationary bike
- 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 improve strength while lessening stress on the joint
- Athletic training and sports therapy for athletes who want to reduce the risk of reinjury
At Axes Physical Therapy in Pinckney, MO, all of our treatment plans are as unique as each patient, and created in concert with your physician, in order to deliver you the best client experience and get you back to the activities you love.
Other injuries we help treat in Pinckney, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Pinckney, 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 with our help, you can get back to how you used to feel. We know our clients trust us with their recovery, 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 Pinckney, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.