MCL Injury | Scotsdale, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Scotsdale, MO. If someone plays sports or engages in other physical activity, it’s easy to fear the worst when you hear that sudden “pop” in your knee: Did I suffer an MCL injury? How bad is the injury? How long will it take to recover? Will this be the end of my athletic career? At Axes Physical Therapy in Scotsdale, MO, all of our physical and occupational therapists are committed to positive patient outcomes. While we’d like to be able to make your MCL injury go away, we can make your recovery safe and effective through tailored, proven treatment plans. Physical therapy has proven to be a critical part of any treatment plan for MCL injuries. Our physical therapists in Scotsdale, MO are all licensed and average more than 15 years of individual experience. For treatment plans you know will be effective, call the Axes location most convenient for you you or contact us online.
The Anatomy of the MCL
MCL stands for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a fibrous of connective tissue that connects bone to bone and provides stability. 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 moving normally. Its functions to resist valgus stress, or the knee being pushed unnaturally towards the other one. It is one of four ligaments that help keep the knee stable, along with the:
- ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), which runs down the center of your knee and controls rotation and controls forward movement
- 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 femur to the fibula (the smaller bone between the knee and ankle) and helps keep the outer side of your knee joint stable
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 support and function properly. There are a variety of knee injuries that can greatly affect your mobility and pursue the activities 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 patients manage their symptoms and return to normal movement health.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
In general, an MCL injury is either a sprain, which stretches the ligament beyond its normal range of motion, 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 sprain or tear means that the ligament has been stretched, and less than 10% of the MCL has been torn. These are not generally severe, and don’t result in much instability. Your knee will feel tender, and you may also experience soreness.
- Grade 2 — This is more significant tearing, most commonly to the more fibrous part of the ligament. You will probably lose some stability in your knee, and the knee will likely be loose when manipulated manually. A grade 2 injury will result in significantly more pain than a grade 2 MCL injury.
- Grade 3 — A grade 3 tear is a complete tear, or separation from the bone. You will retain little to no stability. You will likely experience 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.
Whatever grade MCL injury you have, our professional Scotsdale, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, along with your doctor, implement an exhaustive 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 a ligament, and the MCL is the most commonly injured ligament. Most MCL injuries occur due to a force to the outside of the knee. MCL injuries can also occur if the knee is rotated more than the ligament can support. They can also take place when landing or awkward bending, such as if a cleat is stuck in grass while your leg keeps moving.
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 are also common in those who have to squat 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 Scotsdale, MO, you’ll probably notice the pain right away. Other symptoms may include:
- A sudden “pop” on the inside of your knee
- Feeling like the may buckle
- 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, while other times you’ll barely be able to move the knee. If you experience any of the above symptoms, do not participate in any more strenuous activity and seek medical treatment for a diagnosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of an MCL Injury in Scotsdale, MO
MCL injuries are diagnosed in a doctor’s office, urgent care or at a physical therapy center. The exam will usually start with a doctor or physical therapist in Scotsdale, MO asking how the injury occurred. They’ll then bend your knee and apply slight pressure to the outside of it, noting how much pain you are in 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 the musculoskeletal system in Scotsdale, 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 magnet and radio waves to create detailed images of your soft tissue
- An ultrasound, which uses sound waves and can help determine how severely the MCL is torn
- An X-ray, which does not show soft tissue, may be ordered for a severe MCL injury to ensure there are no broken bones
You can also visit the Axes location most convenient for you for a free, no-risk injury screening. While we can offer you an evaluation, Missouri law mandates a prescription in order to officially begin physical therapy treatment.
How MCL Injuries are Treated in Scotsdale, MO
Typically, treating an MCL injury begins with basic first aid: reducing swelling, reducing pain, and implementing 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 spent resting may be enough 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 the activities you love. You’ll also need time of limited activity to allow your body to heal safely. Your Axes physical therapist in Scotsdale, 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 anti-inflammatory medication.
Though uncommon, 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 an organ donor, to reattach the torn sections. The surgery is an outpatient procedure. If your doctor thinks surgery is necessary, our physical therapists will be able to help you with pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation, which ensures that your knee will be healthy enough for the ligament reconstruction, and you’ll build back strength safely after the surgery.
How Can Physical Therapy in Scotsdale, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
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. Physical therapy slowly and effectively improves strength in the strength in the muscles that power the joint, 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 carried about by your physical therapist to help restore normal functionality
- Exercised performed by you later to further develop strength and flexibility
- Exercises with elastic bands, weights, or cardio machines such as a stationary bike
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, which research suggests can accelerate knee ligament healing
- Kinesio Taping®, which provides further stability while your body heals and helps control motion
- Trigger point dry needling to stimulate harder-to-reach tissue
- Blood flow restriction training to help you make greater strength gains while lifting lighter loads
- Athletic training and sports therapy for those whose main goal is to get back onto the court or field
At Axes Physical Therapy in Scotsdale, MO, all of our treatment plans are designed specifically for you, backed by empirical evidence, and created alongside your physician, 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 Scotsdale, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Scotsdale, 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 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 Scotsdale, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.