MCL Injury | Portage Des Sioux, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Portage Des Sioux, MO. For many people who maintain an active lifestyle, feeling that sudden “pop” in their knee creates a lot of doubts: 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 Portage Des Sioux, MO, we are driven by getting our patients back to the activities they love most. While we can’t, we can make your recovery safe and effective through personalized, proven treatment plans. Physical therapy has proven to be a critical aspect of any treatment plan for MCL injuries. Our physical therapists in Portage Des Sioux, MO are all licensed and average more than 15 years of individual experience. For lasting and meaningful recovery, call the Axes location most convenient for you you or request an appointment online.
How the MCL Works
MCL is an abbreviation for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a fibrous of connective tissue that affixes 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 helps keep your knee stable and functioning normally. Its functions to resist valgus stress, or the knee being forced unnaturally inward. 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 controls rotation and prevents the knee from bending inward
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which forms an “X” with the ACL in the middle of the knee and acts as a secondary front and back stabilizer
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which runs along the outside of the knee from the femur to the fibula (the smaller bone the small bone behind the tibia) and provides stability to the outer knee
The knee is one of the biggest joints in the human body. A healthy knee relies on surrounding bone and muscle, and the tendons and ligaments in order to provide support and function properly. There are countless knee injuries that can limit or completely restrict your mobility and compete like you’re used to, or just get around the house pain-free. Certain physical therapy exercises and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been proven to help patients reduce pain and get back to normal functionality.
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 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 the fibers in your ligament are torn. These injuries are typically not especially painful or debilitating, and don’t result in much instability. You will likely experience some tenderness and some soreness.
- Grade 2 — This is more significant tearing, usually 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. A grade 2 injury will result in significantly more pain than a grade 2 MCL injury.
- Grade 3 — This occurs when your MCL is entirely torn, both the fibrous and deep parts. You will likely feel like your knee’s about to buckle. 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.
Whatever grade MCL injury you have, the team of qualified Portage Des Sioux, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, as a team with your doctor, develop an exhaustive and customized plan aimed at returning you to the life you’re used to without incurring further injury.
MCL Injuries: Causes and Symptoms
Ligament injuries account for 40% of all knee injuries, and the MCL is the most commonly injured ligament. People often suffer and MCL injury because of the knee suddenly being forced too far inward. MCL injuries can also occur if the knee is rotated more than the ligament can support. 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.
Athletes in contact sports are the most likely to sustain an MCL injury. They are also common in those who lift weights or lift heavy objects at their work.
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:
- Hearing or feeling a popping sound or sensation
- The knee being unstable
- Inability to bear weight
- Tenderness where the MCL is located
- 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 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 Portage Des Sioux, MO
MCL injuries are diagnosed in a doctor’s office, urgent care or at a physical therapy center. In the examination, your Portage Des Sioux, 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 perform a valgus stress test.
Most physical therapists or physicians that specialize in the musculoskeletal system in Portage Des Sioux, MO are qualified to determine if you have an MCL injury with the above procedures. 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 magnet and radio waves to take detailed images of the knee joint
- An ultrasound, which uses sound waves and can help determine the grade of your injury
- An X-ray, which does not show soft tissue, may be ordered for a severe MCL injury to ensure there are no broken bones
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 in order to officially begin physical therapy treatment.
Treating an MCL Injury in Portage Des Sioux, MO
Typically, treating an MCL injury begins with basic first aid: inflammation reduction, reducing 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, pain and swelling relievers, and some time with limited activity may be all you need to get mostly back to normal.
Professional physical therapy is needed for more severe tears to restore strength and optimal range of motion and get you back to racing down or around the court or field. You’ll also need to refrain from strenuous activity for an even longer period. Your Axes physical therapist in Portage Des Sioux, 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 rare, the worst grade 1 tears — in which the MCL is completely torn, the injury is accompanied by an ACL tear, or nonsurgical treatment just isn’t working — may require surgery. The surgery is performed by using a graft, either from your hamstring or from another person, to reconstruct the MCL. The surgery is an outpatient procedure. If you do require surgery in Portage Des Sioux, MO, 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 Portage Des Sioux, MO Treat MCL Injuries?
The objective of physical therapy, when dealing with any injury, is to design safe, targeted, 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 so you can get back to what you love most and prevent further injury. A physical therapist may recommend and implement the following practices:
- To begin, light movements performed by your physical therapist to slowly get the ligament used to normal motion again
- More active exercises and stretches later to regain strength
- Exercises with resistant bands, weight lifting equipment, or cardio machines such as a stationary bike
- 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 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 Portage Des Sioux, 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 doing what you love to do most.
Other injuries we help treat in Portage Des Sioux, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Portage Des Sioux, 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 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 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 Portage Des Sioux, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.