MCL Injury | Valles Mines, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Valles Mines, MO. For many athletes and physically active people, 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 this be the end of my athletic career? At Axes Physical Therapy in Valles Mines, MO, all of our physical and occupational therapists are dedicated to positive patient experiences. While we can’t, we can make your recovery safe and effective through tailored, proven treatment plans. Physical therapy has proven to be a critical part of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in Valles Mines, MO are movement health experts. For lasting and meaningful recovery, call the Axes location nearest you or schedule an appointment online.
What is the MCL?
MCL is an abbreviation for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is like a strong, firmly attached rope that attaches bone to bone 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 helps keep your knee stable and moving normally. Its chief purpose is to guard against valgus stress, or the knee being forced too far 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 controls forward movement
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which crosses the ACL in the middle of the knee and the femur from sliding off the tibia
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which attaches the thigh bone to the fibula (the smaller bone in the lower leg) and gives stability to the outer knee
The knee is one of the biggest joints in the human body. Healthy structure and movement depends on surrounding bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. When any knee injury, such as an MCL tear, occurs it can limit or completely restrict your mobility and pursue the activities you love most, or just get around the house pain-free. Certain physical therapy exercises and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been demonstrated through evidence 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?
For all intents and purposes, an MCL injury either involves a sprain, wherein the MCL extends beyond its normal range of motion, or a tear, where the MCL may fray partially or entirely separate from the bone. MCL injuries are “graded” in three tiers:
- Grade 1 — A grade 1 MCL injury refers to a sprain, or a tear where less than 10% of the MCL has been torn. It’s typically a mild injury, and your knee largely remains stable. Your knee will feel tender, and you may also experience mild pain.
- Grade 2 — This is more significant tearing, generally to the more fibrous part of the MCL. You will probably lose some stability in the joint, 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. You will retain little to no stability. You will likely feel significant pain and several other symptoms. The injury may actually caused by or accompanied by other serious knee injuries such as ACL tears.
However significant your MCL injuries, our qualified Valles Mines, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, in concert with your doctor, develop a comprehensive and personalized plan aimed at returning you to the life you’re used to safely.
What Causes MCL Injuries?
40% of all knee injuries involve damage to a ligament, 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 occur if the knee is rotated more than the ligament can support. They can also take place when landing or excessive bending, such as if a cleat is stuck in grass while you’re moving.
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 joint when they experience an MCL sprain or tear. Other symptoms may include:
- Hearing or feeling a popping noise or feeling
- The knee being unstable
- Pain or discomfort when trying to bear weight
- Tenderness along the inside of the joint
- Swelling, either of the MCL area 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 Valles Mines, MO
MCL injuries are diagnosed in a doctor’s office, emergency room or at a physical therapy center. In the examination, your Valles Mines, 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 gently see if your knee is unstanble while bending inward, and your pain level.
Most physical therapists or doctors with knowledge of movement health in Valles Mines, MO will be able 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 computer-generated radio waves to produce three-dimensional images of the knee joint
- An ultrasound, which uses sound waves and can help determine how severely the ligament 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
Alternatively, you can come to the Axes location most convenient for you for a complimentary, no-risk injury screening. While we will be able to diagnose your injury, Missouri law requires a prescription for further physical therapy.
How MCL Injuries are Treated in Valles Mines, MO
The initial treatment of an MCL injury consists of basic first aid: reducing swelling, relieving discomfort, and using 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 a few days or week or two of rest may be all you need to get mostly back to normal.
Professional physical therapy is needed for more severe tears to restore strength and function and get you back to racing down or around the court or field. You’ll also need time resting to allow your body to heal safely. Your Axes physical therapist in Valles Mines, MO can fit you for a knee brace in order to prevent your knee from becoming more instable while your MCL is still healing. With physical therapy, you’ll still continue icing your knee and taking anti-inflammatory pain medication.
Surgery is typically only needed with severe grade 1 MCL injuries, or if the MCL tear is accompanied by an ACL tear or other damage to the joint. The surgery is performed by using a graft, either from one of your other ligaments or an organ donor, to reconstruct the ligament. You would not have to be hospitalized overnight. If your doctor thinks surgery is necessary, our physical therapists specialize in pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation, which ensures that your knee will be healthy enough for the operation, and you’ll build back strength safely after the surgery.
How Can Physical Therapy in Valles Mines, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
For recovering from any injury, a physically therapist will create safe and evidence-backed exercises, each aimed at helping a specific part of the body regain a specific level or function. 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. Depending on you and your injuries, your treatment plan may include:
- At the start, passive movements performed by your physical therapist to help restore normal functionality
- Exercised performed by you later to further develop strength and flexibility
- Exercises with resistant bands, weights, or cardio machines such as treadmill
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, which studies show can accelerate knee ligament healing
- Kinesio Taping®, which keeps the knee stable and encourages normal function
- Trigger point dry needling to stimulate harder-to-reach tissue
- Blood flow restriction training to help you make greater strength gains 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 Valles Mines, MO, all of our treatment plans are designed individually to each patient, proven through peer-reviewed research, and created alongside your physician, in order to deliver you the best client experience and get you back to doing what you love to do most.
Other conditions we help treat in Valles Mines, MO include:
- Total Knee Replacement Physical Therapy
- Vestibular Therapy
- Concussion Treatment
- Soft Tissue Mobilization
- Post Surgical Rehabilitation
- Shin Splint Treatment
- Direct Access Physical Therapy
- Gait Analysis
- Pelvic Floor Therapy
- Dry Needling Near Me
Schedule an Appointment With an Axes Physical Therapist in Valles Mines, 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, the ailment is only temporary. 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. 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 Valles Mines, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.