MCL Injury | Villa Ridge, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Villa Ridge, MO. If someone plays sports or engages in other physical activity, it’s easy to fear the worst when you feel sudden pain on the inside of your knee: Did I suffer an MCL injury? How bad is the injury? How long will I be sidelines for? Will I ever be able to perform at the same level again? At Axes Physical Therapy in Villa Ridge, MO, we are driven by positive patient experiences. While we’d like to be able to make your MCL injury go away, we can make your recovery safe and effective through customized, proven treatment plans. Physical therapy has been shown time and time again to be a fundamental aspect of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in Villa Ridge, 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 nearest you or schedule an appointment online.
How the MCL Works
MCL stands for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is like a strong, firmly attached rope that affixes bones to each other and helps hold structures with the musculoskeletal system together. 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 chief purpose is to guard against valgus stress, or the knee being pushed too far 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 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 attaches the thigh bone to the fibula (the smaller bone in the lower leg) and prevents the knee from being pushed unnaturally outward
The knee is one of the biggest joints in the human body. 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 have tremendous consequences for your mobility and compete like you’re used to, or just live a pain-free day-to-day life. Certain physical therapy exercises and other treatment modalities, prescribed by a doctor, have been demonstrated through research and studies to help those who have suffered an MCL injury mitigate pain and swelling and return to normal functionality.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
Generally speaking, an MCL injury either involves a sprain, which stretches the ligament farther than is naturally, or a tear, where the ligament may fray partially or entirely separate from the bone. MCL injuries are “graded” in three tiers:
- 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. You will likely experience some tenderness and mild pain.
- Grade 2 — This is a more moderate tear, generally to the more fibrous part of the MCL. 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 — This occurs when your MCL is entirely torn, both the fibrous and deep parts. You will likely feel like your knee’s about to buckle. 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 professional Villa Ridge, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, alongside your doctor, develop an extensive and customized 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 the MCL, LCL, ACL, or PCL, and most of the time that ligament is the MCL. People often suffer and MCL injury because of the knee suddenly being forced too far inward. MCL injuries can also by the knee rotating more than the ligament can stand. They can also occur because of 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 sports that require a lot of sudden movement such as football, soccer, skiing, basketball, and tennis. They are also common in those who lift weights or lift heavy objects at their employment.
Common Symptoms of MCL Injuries
If you suffer an MCL injury in Villa Ridge, MO, you’ll likely notice the pain right away. Other symptoms may include:
- A sudden “pop” on the inside of your knee
- The knee being unstable
- Not being able to put any weight on the knee
- Tenderness on the inside of your knee
- Swelling, either where the MCL is located or the whole knee
Sometimes you may feel like your knee is “shaky”, or in other cases 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 schedule a physical examination in order to get a diagnosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of an MCL Injury in Villa Ridge, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a doctor’s office, emergency room or at a physical therapy center. In the examination, your Villa Ridge, 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 that specialize in the musculoskeletal system in Villa Ridge, MO will be able to diagnose an MCL injury with the above procedures. 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 be helpful in checking the severity of your injury
- An X-ray, which, while it won’t show the MCL or other ligaments, to insure your femur, kneecap, tibia, and fibula have not been broken
Axes Physical Therapy also offers injury screening injury screenings at no cost or obligation to you. While we can offer you an evaluation, Missouri Revised Statute §334.506 stipulates that physical therapy be prescribed by a doctor.
How to Treat and MCL Injury in Villa Ridge, MO
Typically, treating an MCL injury begins with basic first aid: reducing swelling, reducing discomfort, and implementing the R.I.C.E. Method of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. For grade 1 injuries, the R.I.C.E method, over-the-counter pain relievers, and a few days or week or two of rest may be all you need for your body to heal itself.
Professional physical therapy is needed for grade 2 and 3 injuries to restore strength and optimal range of motion and get you back to the activities you love. You’ll also need to refrain from rigorous activity for an even longer period. Your Axes physical therapist in Villa Ridge, MO will be able to 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.
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 carried out by using a graft, either from your hamstring or an organ donor, to reconstruct the MCL. The surgery is an outpatient procedure. If you do require surgery in Villa Ridge, MO, our physical therapists specialize in pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation get you the best possible results from your surgery.
How Can Physical Therapy in Villa Ridge, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
For recovering from any injury, a physically therapist will create safe, targeted, and evidence-backed treatment methods based on each patient’s specific injury and the lifestyle they want to get back to. Physical therapy slowly and effectively improves 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:
- To begin, light motions carried about by your physical therapist to help restore normal functionality
- More active exercises and stretches later to regain strength
- Exercises with elastic bands, weight lifting equipment, or cardio machines such as an elliptical
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, which has been proven to help 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 lessening stress on the joint
- Athletic training and sports therapy for those whose main goal is to get back onto the court or field
At Axes Physical Therapy in Villa Ridge, MO, all of our treatment plans are designed individually to each patient, proven through peer-reviewed research, and created with the help of your physician, in order to get you the best patient outcome possible and get you back to doing what you love to do most.
Other services we offer in Villa Ridge, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Villa Ridge, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury can be painful and frightening, especially if you’re an athlete, but with our help, the ailment is only temporary. 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 structures of the knee so you can stay as healthy and active as possible. For meaningful and lasting recovery from your MCL injury in Villa Ridge, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.