MCL Injury | Wilbur Park, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Wilbur Park, MO. For many people who maintain an active lifestyle, feeling that sudden “pop” in their knee creates a lot of anxiety: Did I suffer an MCL injury? Is it significant? How long will it take to recover? Will I have to permanently give up the things I love doing? At Axes Physical Therapy in Wilbur Park, MO, we are driven by positive patient experiences. While we’d like to be able to make your MCL injury go away, we can help ensure you get back to feeling like yourself with safe, evidence-backed treatments. Physical therapy has been shown time and time again to be a fundamental aspect of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in Wilbur Park, MO specialize helping a variety of injuries and conditions in the musculoskeletal system heal. For lasting and meaningful recovery, call the Axes location most convenient for you you or contact us online.
What is the MCL?
MCL is an abbreviation for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a fibrous of connective tissue that attaches bone to bone and keeps joints stable. 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 primary purpose is to withstand valgus pressure, or the knee being forced too far towards the other one. It is one of four ligaments that help keep the knee stable, along with the:
- ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), which runs down the center of your knee and provides rotational stability and prevents the knee from bending inward
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which forms an “X” with the ACL in the middle of the knee and keeps the shinbone from sliding back too far
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which runs along the outside of the knee from the thigh bone to the fibula (the smaller bone in the lower leg) and provides stability to the outer knee
The knee is known for being one of our most complex joints. Correct structure and movement depends on surrounding bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. There are a variety of knee injuries that can limit or completely restrict 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 demonstrated through evidence to help patients manage their symptoms and return to normal functionality.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
For all intents and purposes, an MCL injury either involves a sprain, wherein the MCL is stretched 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 levels:
- 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 largely remains stable. Symptoms will likely be tenderness and some soreness.
- Grade 2 — This is more significant tearing, generally to the middle layer of the MCL. Your knee will be slightly unstable, and your joint may be loose when manipulated manually. A grade 2 injury will result in significantly more pain than a grade 2 MCL injury.
- Grade 3 — This injury is a complete tear to both the fibrous and deep parts. You will likely feel like your knee’s about to buckle. You will likely experience intense pain and a wide array of symptoms. The injury may actually caused by or accompanied by other serious knee injuries such as ACL tears.
Whatever grade MCL injury you have, the team of licensed Wilbur Park, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, in concert with your doctor, develop an exhaustive and tailored plan 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 most of the time that ligament is the MCL. Most people often suffer and MCL injury because of a force to the outer edge of the knee. MCL injuries can also occur if the knee is rotated more than the ligament can support. They can also happen because of landing or unnatural bending, such as if a cleat is stuck in grass while the rest of your body moves.
Athletes in contact sports are the most likely to sustain an MCL injury. They can also occur in people who have to hunch over and lift heavy objects, either for athletic training or in the course of 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
- Inability to bear weight
- Tenderness on the inside of your knee
- Inflammation, either where the MCL is located or the whole knee
Sometimes you may feel a “wobbly” sensation, or in other cases you’ll barely be able to move the knee. If you experience any of the above symptoms, do not participate in any more strenuous activity and schedule a physical examination in order to get a diagnosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of an MCL Injury in Wilbur Park, MO
MCL injuries are diagnosed in a doctor’s office, emergency room or at a physical therapy center. In the examination, your Wilbur Park, 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 physicians with knowledge of movement health in Wilbur Park, MO will be able to determine if you have 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 magnetic field and radio waves to take three-dimensional images of the inside of your knee
- An ultrasound, which uses sound waves and can help determine how severely the ligament is torn
- 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 offer you an evaluation, Missouri law stipulates that physical therapy be prescribed by a physician.
Treating an MCL Injury in Wilbur Park, MO
The initial treatment of an MCL injury consists of basic first aid: reducing swelling, relieving discomfort, and utilizing the R.I.C.E. Method of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. For sprains or slight tears, the R.I.C.E method, over-the-counter pain relievers, and a few days or week or two of rest may be sufficient for your body’s natural healing processes to get you back on your feet.
Professional physical therapy is needed for more severe tears to restore strength and function and get you back to the activities you love. You’ll also need to refrain from rigorous until your knee is strong again. Your Axes physical therapist in Wilbur Park, MO can fit you for a knee brace in order to prevent your knee from bending too far inward while your MCL is still healing. Even with physical therapy, you’ll likely still continue the R.I.C.E. method and anti-inflammatory 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 your hamstring or from another person, to reattach the torn sections. The surgery is an outpatient procedure. If your doctor thinks surgery is necessary, our physical therapists will be able to treat you with pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation get you the best possible results from your surgery.
How Can Physical Therapy in Wilbur Park, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
For recovering from any injury, a physically therapist will implement safe, targeted, and evidence-backed treatment methods based on each patient’s specific injury and the lifestyle they want to get back to. These treatments and exercises will, over time, build strength in the strength in the muscles that power the joint, flexibility of ligaments and tendons, and range of motion to the joint in the interest of not only recovery, but injury prevention. Depending on you and your injuries, your treatment plan may include:
- To begin, light 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 a stationary bike
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, which studies show can accelerate knee ligament healing
- Kinesio Taping®, which keeps the knee stable and encourages normal motion
- Trigger point dry needling to further help the body’s natural healing process
- Blood flow restriction training to help you make greater strength gains 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 Wilbur Park, MO, all of our treatment plans are designed specifically for you, proven through peer-reviewed research, and created in concert with your doctor, in order to deliver you the best client experience and get you back to the activities you love.
Other injuries we help treat in Wilbur Park, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Schedule an Appointment With an Axes Physical Therapist in Wilbur Park, 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 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 how the knee works so you can stay as healthy and active as possible. For meaningful and lasting recovery from your MCL injury in Wilbur Park, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.