MCL Injury | Preston Woods, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Preston Woods, MO. If someone plays sports or engages in other physical activity, feeling that sudden “pop” in their knee creates a lot of anxiety: Did I suffer an MCL injury? Is it significant? How long will I be sidelines for? Will this be the end of my athletic career? At Axes Physical Therapy in Preston Woods, MO, all of our physical and occupational therapists are committed to getting our clients back to sprinting down the court. While we’d like to be able to make your MCL injury go away, we can help ensure you get back to feeling like yourself with safe, evidence-backed treatments. Physical therapy has proven to be a critical aspect of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in Preston Woods, MO specialize helping a variety of injuries and conditions in the musculoskeletal system heal. For treatment plans you know will be effective, call the Axes location most convenient for you you or contact us online.
What is the MCL?
MCL an acronym for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a fibrous of connective tissue that affixes bone to bone and helps hold structures with the body together. 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 main purpose is to guard against valgus stress, or the knee being forced unnaturally inward. It is one of four ligaments that help keep the knee stable, along with the:
- 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 crosses the ACL in the middle of the knee and controls backward movement
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which affixes the femur to the fibula (the smaller bone between the knee and ankle) and gives stability to the outer knee
The knee is one of the largest joints we have. Optimal structure and movement depends on surrounding bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. There are numerous 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 techniques and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been proven to help patients mitigate pain and swelling and return to optimal mobility.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
In general, an MCL injury either involves a sprain, wherein the MCL extends beyond its normal limits, or a tear, where the ligament may fray partially or entirely separate from the bone. MCL injuries are “graded” in three levels:
- 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. It’s typically a mild injury, and don’t result in much instability. You will likely experience some tenderness and some soreness.
- Grade 2 — This injury is when the MCL suffers more significant tearing, most commonly to the more fibrous part of the MCL. 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 fibrous and deep parts. You will retain little to no stability. You will likely feel intense pain and a wide array of symptoms. The injury may actually caused by or accompanied by other serious knee injuries such as ACL tears.
However significant your MCL injuries, our expert Preston Woods, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, as a team with your physician, develop an extensive plan uniquely made for you and your injuries aimed at returning you to the life you’re used to safely.
MCL Injuries: Causes and Symptoms
40% of all knee injuries involve damage to the MCL, LCL, ACL, or PCL, and the MCL is the most commonly injured ligament. Most MCL injuries occur due to physical trauma on the outer edge of the knee. MCL injuries can also occur if the knee is rotated too forcefully. They can also happen because of landing or awkward bending, such as if your foot stays in one place while the rest of your body moves.
MCL injuries usually occur athletes in contact sports and in sports that require a lot of torque being placed on the body such as football, soccer, skiing, basketball, and tennis. They are also common in those 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
If you suffer an MCL injury in Preston Woods, MO, you’ll probably notice the pain right away. Other symptoms may include:
- A sudden “pop” on the inside of your knee
- Not being able to put any weight on the knee
- Tenderness along the inside of the joint
- Swelling, either where the MCL is located or the whole knee
Sometimes you may feel a “wobbly” sensation, or in other cases the knee feels too rigid. If you suspect you may have suffered an MCL injury, do not participate in any more strenuous activity and seek medical treatment for a diagnosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of an MCL Injury in Preston Woods, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a physical examination. In the examination, your Preston Woods, 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 perform a valgus stress test.
Most physical therapists or physicians with knowledge of movement health in Preston Woods, MO will be able to diagnose 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 be helpful in checking the severity of your injury
- An X-ray, which, while it won’t show the MCL or other ligaments, 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 can determine if you have suffered an MCL injury, Missouri Revised Statute §334.506 stipulates that physical therapy be prescribed by a doctor.
Treating an MCL Injury in Preston Woods, MO
Right after your MCL injury, you should start with basic first aid: reducing swelling, reducing 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, pain and swelling relievers, and a few days or week or two of rest may be enough to get mostly back to normal.
Grade 2 or 3 tears 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 rigorous until your knee is strong again. Your Axes physical therapist in Preston Woods, 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.
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. During the surgery, a surgeon will use 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 Preston Woods, MO, our physical therapists will be able to treat you with pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation to make your surgery and recovery as successful as possible.
How Can Physical Therapy in Preston Woods, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
For recovering from any injury, a physically therapist will design safe, targeted, and evidence-backed treatment methods based on each patient’s specific injury and the lifestyle they want to get back to. These treatments and exercises will, over time, build strength in the surrounding muscles, flexibility of ligaments and tendons, and range of motion to the knee in the interest of not only recovery, but injury prevention. Depending on you and your injuries, your treatment plan may include:
- At the start, passive movements carried about by your physical therapist to help restore normal functionality
- More active exercises and stretches 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 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 Preston Woods, MO, all of our treatment plans are designed specifically for you, backed by empirical evidence, and created alongside your doctor, in order to get you the best patient outcome possible and get you back to the activities you love.
Other injuries we help treat in Preston Woods, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Preston Woods, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury can be painful and frightening, 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 anatomy of the knee so you can stay as healthy and active as possible. For meaningful and lasting recovery from your MCL injury in Preston Woods, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.