MCL Injury | Town and Country, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Town and Country, MO. For many people who maintain an active lifestyle, it’s easy to fear the worst when you hear that sudden “pop” in your knee: 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 Town and Country, 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 make your recovery safe and effective through tailored, evidence-based treatment plans. Physical therapy has been shown time and time again to be a critical part of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in Town and Country, MO are all licensed and average more than 15 years of individual experience. 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 a tough, flexible of connective tissue that attaches bones to each other 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 chief purpose is to guard against valgus stress, or the knee being pushed unnaturally towards the other one. It is one of four ligaments in the knee, 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 forms an “X” with the ACL in the middle of the knee and controls backward movement
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which connects 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. It depends on surrounding bone and muscle, and the tendons and ligaments in order to provide support and function properly. There are numerous knee injuries that can limit or completely restrict your mobility and compete like you’re used to, or just live a pain-free day-to-day life. Particular physical therapy exercises and other treatment modalities, prescribed by a doctor, have been proven to help those who have suffered an MCL injury mitigate pain and swelling and return to normal mobility.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
Generally speaking, 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 MCL are torn. These are not generally severe, and your knee largely remains stable. Your knee will feel tender, and you may also experience soreness.
- Grade 2 — This is a more moderate tear, usually to the more fibrous part of the ligament. Your knee will be slightly unstable, and your joint may be loose when manipulated manually. Pain is much more severe in a grade 2 MCL injury.
- Grade 3 — A grade 3 tear is a complete tear, or separation from the bone. 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, the team of qualified Town and Country, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, as a team with your doctor, develop an exhaustive 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.
What Causes MCL Injuries?
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 too forcefully. They can also occur because of landing or excessive 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 athletic events that require a lot of sudden movement such as football, soccer, skiing, basketball, and tennis. They can also occur in people who lift weights or lift heavy objects at their work.
Common Symptoms of MCL Injuries
Most MCL injuries are accompanied by sudden, noticeable pain. Other symptoms may include:
- A sudden “pop” on the inside of your knee
- Not being able to put any weight on the knee
- Tenderness where the MCL is located
- Swelling, either on the inside of the knee or the entire knee joint
Sometimes your knee may feel like it’s wobbling when you walk, even if walking doesn’t hurt, while other times you’ll barely be able to move the knee. Any time you feel pain or instability in your knee, cease any strenuous activity immediately and seek medical treatment for a diagnosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of an MCL Injury in Town and Country, MO
MCL injuries are diagnosed in a physical examination. In the examination, your Town and Country, 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 that specialize in mobility of the human body in Town and Country, MO are qualified to diagnose an MCL injury with the above procedures. Other tests to check severity or to confirm may include:
- 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 how severely the MCL is torn
- An X-ray, which does not show soft tissue, to insure your femur, patella, tibia, and fibula have not fractured
You can also come to the Axes location nearest you for a free, no-obligation injury screening. While we will be able to diagnose your injury, Missouri Revised Statute §334.506 requires a prescription in order to officially begin physical therapy treatment.
How MCL Injuries are Treated in Town and Country, MO
The initial treatment of an MCL injury consists of basic first aid: swelling reduction, easing discomfort, 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 a few days or week or two of rest may be all you need for your body’s natural healing processes to get you back on your feet.
More significant 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 time of limited activity to allow your body to heal safely. Your Axes physical therapist in Town and Country, MO can 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 most severe cases — 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 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 to make your surgery and recovery as successful as possible.
How Do Physical Therapists in Town and Country, MO Treat MCL Injuries?
For recovering from any injury, a physically therapist will design safe and evidence-backed exercises, each aimed at helping a specific part of the body get back to optimal movement health. These treatments and exercises will, over time, build strength in the strength in the muscles that power the joint, 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 help restore normal functionality
- Exercised performed by you later to regain strength
- Exercises with elastic bands, weights, or cardio machines such as an elliptical
- 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 improve strength while lifting lighter weights
- Athletic training and sports therapy for those whose main goal is to get back onto the court or field
At Axes Physical Therapy in Town and Country, MO, all of our treatment plans are as unique as each patient, and created with the help of your doctor, in order to get you the best patient outcome possible and get you back to doing what you love to do most.
Other conditions we help treat in Town and Country, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Town and Country, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury is scary and anxiety-inducing at first, especially if you’re an athlete, but there’s no reason it has to put you on the sideline forever. We know you place a lot of trust in your physical therapists, so we repay that trust with safe and effective treatments that are 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 Town and Country, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.