West Alton, MO

West Alton, MO

Axes Physical Therapy will get you back to the activities you love most

MCL Injury | West Alton, MO Physical Therapy

MCL Injury in West Alton, MO. If someone plays sports or engages in other physical activity, feeling that sudden “pop” in their knee creates a lot of doubts: Did I suffer an MCL injury? Is it significant? How long will I be sidelines for? Will this be the end of my athletic career? At Axes Physical Therapy in West Alton, MO, we are driven by positive patient experiences. While we can’t, 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 an integral aspect of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in West Alton, MO are movement health experts. For treatment plans you know will be effective, reach out to the Axes location most convenient for you you or contact us online.

How the MCL Works

MCL stands for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a tough, flexible of connective tissue that connects bone to bone 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 unnaturally inward. 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 forms an “X” with the ACL inside the knee and controls backward movement
  • LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which connects the thigh bone to the fibula (the smaller bone between the knee and ankle) and gives stability to the outer knee

The knee is known for being one of our most complex joints. A healthy knee relies on surrounding bone and muscle, and the tendons and ligaments in order to provide support and function properly. There are countless knee injuries that can limit or completely restrict your mobility and ability to do what you love most, or just live a pain-free day-to-day life. Certain physical therapy techniques and other treatment modalities, prescribed by a doctor, have been proven to help patients manage their symptoms and get back to normal movement health.

MCL Injury West Alton, MO | Sports Rehab | Injury Prevention | Physical Therapy Near West Alton

What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?

For all intents and purposes, an MCL injury is either a sprain, wherein the MCL extends 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 MCL has been torn. These injuries are typically not especially painful or debilitating, and your knee largely remains stable. You will likely experience some tenderness and some soreness.
  • Grade 2 — This injury is when the MCL suffers more significant tearing, most commonly to the more fibrous part of the MCL. You will probably lose some stability in the joint, and the knee will likely 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 likely feel like your knee’s about to buckle. 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, our qualified West Alton, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, in concert with your physician, develop a comprehensive and customized plan to get you back to the activities your love most safely.

What Causes MCL Injuries?

40% of all knee injuries involve damage to the MCL, LCL, ACL, or PCL, and the MCL is the most commonly injured ligament. MCL injuries occur due to the knee suddenly being forced too far inward. MCL injuries can also occur if the knee is rotated more than the ligament can stand. They can also occur because of landing or unnatural 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 cutting and jumping 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

Most MCL injuries are accompanied by sudden, noticeable pain. Other symptoms may include:

  • Hearing or feeling a popping sound or sensation
  • Instability
  • Not being able to put any weight on the knee
  • Contusions
  • Tenderness on the inside of your knee
  • Swelling, either on the inside of the knee or the entire knee joint

Sometimes your knee may feel like your knee is loose when you walk, even if walking doesn’t hurt, or in other cases the knee feels too stiff. Any time you feel pain or instability in your knee, stop any strenuous activity immediately and seek medical treatment for a diagnosis.

Diagnosing and Treating an MCL Injury in West Alton, MO

MCL injuries are diagnosed in a physical examination. The exam will usually start with a doctor or physical therapist in West Alton, MO asking how the injury occurred. They’ll then bend your knee and apply slight pressure to the outside of it, noting your pain level and whether or not your knee is unstable. They’ll also gently feel for swelling, and may compare your injured knee to the healthy one.

Most physical therapists or doctors that specialize in mobility of the human body in West Alton, 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 magnetic field and radio waves to create three-dimensional images of the inside of your knee
  • An ultrasound, which uses sound waves and can be helpful in checking the severity of your injury
  • An X-ray, which does not show soft tissue, to insure your femur, patella, tibia, and fibula have not been broken

You can also come to the Axes location most convenient for you for a free, no-obligation injury screening. While we can determine if you have suffered an MCL sprain or tear, Missouri law requires a prescription for further physical therapy.

How to Treat and MCL Injury in West Alton, MO

The initial treatment of an MCL injury consists of basic first aid: reducing swelling, reducing 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 enough for your body’s natural healing processes to get you back on your feet.

Grade 2 or 3 injuries 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 to refrain from rigorous activity for an even longer period. Your Axes physical therapist in West Alton, MO will be able to fit you for a knee brace in order to prevent your knee from bending too far inward while your MCL is still healing. With physical therapy, you’ll still continue icing your knee and taking anti-inflammatory pain medication.

Though uncommon, 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 performed by using a graft, either from your hamstring or from another person, to reattach the torn sections. The surgery is an outpatient procedure. If you do require surgery in West Alton, MO, our physical therapists are experts at pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation, which ensures that your knee will be healthy enough for the surgery, and you’ll build back strength safely after the surgery.

How Do Physical Therapists in West Alton, MO Treat MCL Injuries?

The aim of physical therapy, when dealing with any injury, is to design 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 knee in the interest of not only recovery, but injury prevention. A physical therapist may recommend and implement the following practices:

At Axes Physical Therapy in West Alton, MO, all of our treatment plans are designed specifically for you, backed by empirical evidence, and created with the help of your physician, in order to get you the best patient outcome possible and get you back to the activities you love.

Other services we offer in West Alton, MO include:

MCL Injury West Alton, MO | Athletic Training | Sports Training | Physical Therapy Near West Alton

Call an Axes Physical Therapist in West Alton, MO for Your MCL Injury

An MCL injury can be painful and frightening, especially if you’re an athlete or someone who finds joy in an active lifestyle, but with our help, you can get back to how you used to feel. 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 West Alton, 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
  • Work Conditioning/Hardening
  • Functional Capacity Evaluations
  • Sports Physical Therapy
  • Pediatric Orthopedic Physical Therapy
  • Geriatric Physical Therapy
  • Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (Astym)
  • Spine Specialty – Certified Manual Therapy
  • Free Injury Screenings
  • Trigger Point Dry Needling
  • Kinesio Taping®
  • Video Motion Analysis
  • Blood Flow Restriction Therapy

Our Team

Sara Crain
PT, CEAS, Astym Cert.
Nick Weber
Clinic Director, MPT
Bailey Zimmermann
Front Office Supervisor
Daniel Scribner
PT, DPT, ATC

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