MCL Injury | Wildwood, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Wildwood, MO. For many people who maintain an active lifestyle, 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 I have to permanently give up the things I love doing? At Axes Physical Therapy in Wildwood, MO, all of our physical and occupational therapists are committed to getting our patients back to tearing up the filed. While we’d like to be able to magically fix your MCL, we can help ensure you get back to feeling like yourself with safe, evidence-backed treatments. Physical therapy has proven to be an essential component of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in Wildwood, 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 request an appointment online.
The Anatomy of the MCL
MCL stands for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is like a strong, firmly attached rope that affixes 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 functions to resist valgus stress, or the knee being forced unnaturally inward. It combines with three other ligaments that work together to support normal function and stability:
- ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), which runs down the center of your knee and provides rotational stability and prevents the tibia from sliding too far forward on the femur
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which crosses the ACL in the middle of the knee and controls backward movement
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which affixes the femur to the fibula (the smaller bone the small bone behind the tibia) and prevents the knee from being pushed too far outward
The knee is known for being one of our most complex joints. Optimal structure and function depends on surrounding bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. There are a variety of knee injuries that can greatly affect your mobility and pursue the activities you love most, or just complete basic tasks pain-free. Particular physical therapy exercises and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been proven to help those who have suffered an MCL injury manage their symptoms and return to optimal functionality.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
For all intents and purposes, an MCL injury either involves a sprain, which stretches the ligament beyond its normal limits, or a tear, where the MCL is either partially or completely torn or separated from the bone. There are three grades to MCL injuries:
- 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 soreness.
- Grade 2 — This is more significant tearing, usually to the more fibrous part of the ligament. Your knee will be slightly unstable, and your joint may be loose when moved by hand. 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. Grade 3 MCL injuries often occur alongside other knee injuries such as ACL tears.
Whatever grade MCL injury you have, our licensed Wildwood, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, as a team with your doctor, create an extensive plan uniquely made for you and your injuries aimed at returning you to the life you’re used to without incurring further injury.
How Do MCL Injuries Occur?
40% of all knee injuries involve damage to a ligament, and most of the time that ligament is the MCL. Most MCL injuries occur due to a blow to the exterior of the knee. MCL injuries can also by the knee rotating too forcefully. They can also happen because of landing or excessive bending, such as if your foot stays in one place while the rest of your body moves.
MCL injuries are common in athletes in contact sports and in sports that require a lot of torque being placed on the body 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:
- A sudden “pop” on the inside of your knee
- Feeling like the may buckle
- Not being able to put any weight on the knee
- Tenderness on the inside of your knee
- Inflammation, either where the MCL is located or the entire knee joint
Sometimes you may feel a “wobbly” sensation, or in other cases the knee feels too rigid. Any time you feel pain or instability in your knee, cease any strenuous activity immediately and seek medical treatment for a diagnosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of an MCL Injury in Wildwood, MO
MCL injuries are diagnosed in a doctor’s office, emergency room or at a physical therapy center. In the examination, your Wildwood, MO doctor or physical therapist will go over how the injury occurred, will feel for swelling and how your knee is different from your healthy knee, and check for stability.
Most physical therapists or doctors that specialize in the musculoskeletal system in Wildwood, 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 computer-generated radio waves to take 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 does not show soft tissue, to insure your femur, kneecap, tibia, and fibula have not fractured
You can also schedule and appointment with the Axes location most convenient for you for a free, no-risk injury screening. While we can determine if you have suffered an MCL injury, Missouri law mandates a prescription in order to officially begin physical therapy treatment.
How MCL Injuries are Treated in Wildwood, MO
The initial treatment of an MCL injury consists of basic first aid: inflammation reduction, reducing pain, 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, pain and swelling relievers, and a few days or week or two of rest may be enough for your body to heal itself.
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 Wildwood, MO will be able to fit you for a knee brace in order to prevent your knee from moving side to side 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.
Though rare, 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. During the surgery, a surgeon will use a graft, either from your hamstring or an organ donor, to reconstruct the ligament. The surgery is an outpatient procedure. If you do require surgery in Wildwood, MO, our physical therapists are experts at pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation get you the best possible results from your surgery.
How Do Physical Therapists in Wildwood, MO Treat MCL Injuries?
The goal of physical therapy, when dealing with any injury, is to 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 soft tissue, and range of motion to the knee in the interest of not only recovery, but injury prevention. Depending on you and your injuries, your treatment plan may include:
- To begin, light motions performed by your physical therapist to slowly get the ligament used to normal motion again
- Exercised performed by you later to regain strength
- Exercises with elastic bands, weight lifting equipment, or cardio machines such as a stationary bike
- 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 Wildwood, MO, all of our treatment plans are as unique as each patient, and created alongside 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 Wildwood, MO include:
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Wildwood, 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 with our help, you can get back to how you used to feel. 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 how the knee works so you can stay as healthy and active as possible. For meaningful and lasting recovery from your MCL injury in Wildwood, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.