MCL Injury | Weldon Spring, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Weldon Spring, 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 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 Weldon Spring, MO, we are driven by getting our patients back to the activities they love most. 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 proven to be a fundamental aspect of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in Weldon Spring, MO are movement health experts. 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 a tough, flexible of connective tissue 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 main purpose is to withstand valgus stress, or the knee being forced too far towards the other one. It combines with three other ligaments to keep the knee stable:
- 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 acts as a secondary front and back stabilizer
- 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 prevents the knee from being pushed unnaturally outward
The knee is known for being one of our most complex joints. Healthy structure and function depends on surrounding bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. There are countless knee injuries that can greatly affect your mobility and compete like you’re used to, or just complete basic tasks pain-free. Certain physical therapy exercises and other treatment modalities, prescribed by a doctor, have been proven to help those who have suffered an MCL injury reduce pain and return to optimal mobility.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
In general, an MCL injury either involves a sprain, which stretches the ligament farther than is naturally, 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 sprain or tear means that the ligament has been stretched, and less than 10% of the the fibers in your ligament are torn. These are not generally severe, and your knee will still be stable. You will likely experience some tenderness and mild pain.
- Grade 2 — This injury is when the MCL suffers more significant tearing, generally to the middle layer of the MCL. You will probably lose some stability in the joint, and the knee will likely be loose when moved by hand. 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 likely feel like your knee’s about to “give out.” You will likely experience intense 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, the team of qualified Weldon Spring, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, alongside your physician, create an extensive plan specially made for you and your injuries to get you back to the activities your love most in a safe and effective manner.
What Causes MCL Injuries?
Ligament injuries account for 40% of all knee injuries, 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 stand. They can also take place when landing or excessive bending, such as if your foot stays in one place while your leg keeps 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 employment.
Common Symptoms of MCL Injuries
Most MCL injuries are accompanied by sudden, noticeable pain. Other symptoms may include:
- Hearing or feeling a popping noise or sensation
- Feeling like the may give out
- Not being able to put any weight on the knee
- Tenderness where the MCL is located
- Inflammation, either of the MCL area or the whole knee
Sometimes you may feel a “wobbly” sensation, while other times the knee feels too rigid. If you suspect you may have suffered an MCL injury, cease any strenuous activity immediately and seek medical treatment for a diagnosis.
Diagnosing and Treating an MCL Injury in Weldon Spring, MO
MCL injuries are diagnosed in a physical examination. In the examination, your Weldon Spring, 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 perform a valgus stress test.
Most physical therapists or doctors that specialize in mobility of the human body in Weldon Spring, MO are qualified to determine if you have an MCL injury with a physical examination. Other tests to check severity or to confirm may include:
- An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), which uses a magnet and radio waves to take detailed 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, may be ordered for a severe MCL injury to ensure there are no broken bones
Axes Physical Therapy also offers injury screening injury screenings at no cost or obligation to you. While we can determine if you have suffered an MCL sprain or tear, Missouri law mandates a prescription for further physical therapy.
How MCL Injuries are Treated in Weldon Spring, MO
Typically, treating an MCL injury begins with basic first aid: swelling reduction, easing 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, pain and swelling relievers, and some time spent off your feet may be all you need 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 the activities you love. You’ll also need to refrain from rigorous activity for an even longer period. Your Axes physical therapist in Weldon Spring, MO will be able to fit you for a knee brace in order to prevent your knee from becoming more instable while your MCL is still healing. Even with physical therapy, you’ll likely still continue the R.I.C.E. method and over-the-counter meds.
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. During the surgery, a surgeon will use a graft, either from one of your other ligaments or an organ donor, to reattach the torn sections. 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 to make your surgery and recovery as successful as possible.
How Can Physical Therapy in Weldon Spring, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
For recovering from any injury, a physically therapist will implement safe and evidence-backed exercises, each aimed at helping a specific part of the body regain a specific level or function. These treatments and exercises will, over time, build strength in the surrounding muscles, 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. A physical therapist may recommend and implement the following practices:
- At the start, light motions 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 treadmill
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, which studies show can accelerate knee ligament healing
- Kinesio Taping®, which provides further stability while your body heals and helps control motion
- Trigger point dry needling to further help the body’s natural healing process
- 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 Weldon Spring, MO, all of our treatment plans are as unique as each patient, and created in concert with 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 Weldon Spring, MO include:
- Soft Tissue Mobilization
- Post Surgical Rehabilitation
- Shin Splint Treatment
- Direct Access Physical Therapy
- Gait Analysis
- Pelvic Floor Therapy
- Dry Needling Near Me
- Tendonitis Treatment
- Manual Physical Therapy
- Orthopedic Rehab Near Me
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Weldon Spring, 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 there’s no reason it has to put you on the sideline forever. We know our clients trust us with their recovery, 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 Weldon Spring, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.