St. Charles, MO

St. Charles, MO

Axes Physical Therapy can provide you with safe, effective, and evidence-backed physical therapy

MCL Injury | St. Charles, MO Physical Therapy

MCL Injury in St. Charles, 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? 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 St. Charles, MO, we are driven by getting our patients 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 an essential component of any treatment plan for MCL injuries. Our physical therapists in St. Charles, MO are movement health experts. For lasting and meaningful recovery, reach out to the Axes location nearest you or contact us online.

What is the MCL?

MCL stands for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a fibrous of connective tissue that affixes bones to each other and provides stability. The MCL connects your upper shin bone to the inner surface of the bottom thigh bone, running along your inner knee, and maintains stability in the inner knee. Its chief purpose is to withstand valgus pressure, or the knee being forced too far towards the other one. It combines with three other ligaments that work together to support normal function and stability:

  • ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), which runs down the center of your knee and provides rotational stability 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 controls backward movement
  • LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which affixes the femur to the fibula (the smaller bone between the knee and ankle) and prevents the knee from being forced unnaturally outward

The knee is one of the largest joints in the human body. Optimal structure and movement depends on surrounding bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. When any knee injury, such as an MCL tear, occurs it can have tremendous consequences for your mobility and pursue the activities you love most, or just live a pain-free day-to-day life. Particular physical therapy exercises and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been demonstrated through evidence to help those who have suffered an MCL injury manage their symptoms and return to optimal movement health.

MCL Injury St. Charles, MO | Sports Rehab | Injury Prevention | Physical Therapy Near St. Charles

What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?

In general, an MCL injury is either a sprain, wherein the MCL extends farther than is naturally, or a tear, where the ligament is either partially or completely torn or separated from the bone. There are three grades to MCL injuries:

  • Grade 1 — A grade 1 sprain or tear means that the ligament has been stretched, and less than 10% of the the fibers in your MCL are torn. These injuries are typically not especially painful or debilitating, and your knee largely remains stable. Your knee will feel tender, and you may also experience mild pain.
  • Grade 2 — This is a more moderate tear, most commonly to the superficial part of the ligament. Your knee will be slightly unstable, and your joint may be loose when manipulated manually. Symptoms of a grade 2 MCL injury generally include much more noticeable pain.
  • 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. Grade 3 MCL injuries often occur alongside other knee injuries such as ACL tears.

Whatever grade MCL injury you have, the team of expert St. Charles, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, in concert with your physician, create an extensive plan uniquely made for you and your injuries aimed at returning you to the life you’re used to in a safe and effective manner.

MCL Injuries: Causes and Symptoms

40% of all knee injuries involve damage to the MCL, LCL, ACL, or PCL, and most of the time that ligament is the MCL. When you suffer a forceful trauma to the outside of your knee, it can push the knee inside far enough that the MCL strains or tears. MCL injuries can also by the knee rotating 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 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 MCL injuries are accompanied by immediate, noticeable pain. Other symptoms may include:

  • Hearing or feeling a popping sound or sensation
  • Instability
  • Inability to bear weight
  • Contusions
  • Tenderness along the inside of the joint
  • Inflammation, either of the MCL area or the entire knee joint

Sometimes you may feel a “wobbly” sensation, while other times you’ll barely be able to move the knee. 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.

Diagnosing and Treating an MCL Injury in St. Charles, MO

MCL injuries are diagnosed in a doctor’s office, emergency room or at a physical therapy center. In the examination, your St. Charles, 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 doctors with knowledge of movement health in St. Charles, MO will be able to determine if you have 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 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, patella, tibia, and fibula have not fractured

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 mandates that physical therapy be prescribed by a doctor.

How MCL Injuries are Treated in St. Charles, MO

Typically, treating an MCL injury begins with basic first aid: reducing swelling, relieving pain, and utilizing 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 sufficient for your body to heal itself.

Professional physical therapy is needed for grade 2 and 3 tears to restore strength and function and get you back to racing down or around the court or field. You’ll also need to refrain from rigorous activity for an even longer period. Your Axes physical therapist in St. Charles, MO will be able to 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 rare, the most severe cases — 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. The surgery is carried out by using a graft, either from your hamstring or from another person, to reconstruct the ligament. The surgery is an outpatient procedure. If your doctor thinks surgery is necessary, our physical therapists are experts at pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation to make your surgery and recovery as successful as possible.

How Can Physical Therapy in St. Charles, MO Treat My MCL Injury?

The objective of physical therapy, when dealing with any injury, is to create 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 strength in the muscles that power the knee, flexibility of ligaments and tendons, 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 Axes Physical Therapy in St. Charles, 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 doing what you love to do most.

Other injuries we help treat in St. Charles, MO include:

MCL Injury St. Charles, MO | Athletic Training | Sports Training | Physical Therapy Near St. Charles

Schedule an Appointment With an Axes Physical Therapist in St. Charles, MO for Your MCL Injury

An MCL injury is scary and anxiety-inducing at first, especially if you’re used to being physically active, 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 St. Charles, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.

Services Offered

Services Offered
  • Physical Therapy
    • Pre/Post Surgical Rehabilitation
    • Acute Injury Management
    • Chronic Injury Management
  • Occupational Therapy
    • Certified Hand Therapy
  • Work Conditioning/Hardening
  • Functional Capacity Evaluations
  • Sports Physical Therapy
  • DorsaVi Video Motion Analysis
  • Trigger Point Dry Needling
  • Pediatric Orthopedic Physical Therapy
  • Geriatric Orthopedic Physical Therapy
  • Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTYM)
  • Spine Specialty – Manual Therapy Certified
  • Free Injury Screenings
  • Kinesio Taping®
  • Blood Flow Restriction Therapy

Our Team

Sara Crain
PT, CEAS, Astym Cert.
Amanda Gubbels
DPT, CMPT, ATC
Natasha Burtchett
Front Office Supervisor
John Ruesler
Clinic Director, DPT, CMPT, Astym Cert.
Megan Phillips
Front Office
Stephanie Heubi
Front Office
Hannah Drake
DPT, CMPT, ATC, LAT

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Injuries and pain shouldn’t keep you from moving and doing the things you love.