MCL Injury | Winchester, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Winchester, 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 my knee ever be the same again? At Axes Physical Therapy in Winchester, MO, all of our physical and occupational therapists are committed to positive patient experiences. While we can’t, 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 any treatment plan for MCL injuries. Our physical therapists in Winchester, MO specialize helping a variety of injuries and conditions in the musculoskeletal system heal. For treatment plans you know will be effective, call the Axes location nearest you or contact us online.
The Anatomy of the MCL
MCL is an abbreviation for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a tough, flexible of connective tissue that attaches bone to bone and provides stability. The MCL runs from the inside of your upper shin bone to the inside of your bottoms thigh bone and maintains stability in the inner knee. Its primary purpose is to guard against valgus pressure, 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 knee from bending inward
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which forms an “X” with the ACL in the middle of the knee and prevents excessive posterior translation of the tibia relative to the femur
- 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 helps keep the outer side of your knee joint stable
The knee is known for being one of our most complex joints. Optimal structure and function depends on surrounding bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. When any knee injury, such as an MCL tear, occurs it can greatly affect your mobility and ability to do what you love most, or just get around the house pain-free. Specific physical therapy exercises and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been proven to help patients manage their symptoms and return to normal mobility.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
For all intents and purposes, an MCL injury is either a sprain, which stretches the ligament beyond its normal range of motion, or a tear, where the ligament 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 MCL has been torn. It’s typically a mild injury, and your knee will still be stable. Your knee will feel tender, and you may also experience mild pain.
- Grade 2 — This is more significant tearing, generally to the more fibrous part of the ligament. You will probably lose some stability in your knee, and the knee will likely be loose when manipulated manually. A grade 2 injury will result in significantly more pain than 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 “give out.” You will likely feel significant pain and several other symptoms. The injury may actually caused by or accompanied by other serious knee injuries such as ACL tears.
Whatever grade MCL injury you have, our licensed Winchester, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, along with your doctor, create an extensive and tailored plan to get you back to the things you love without incurring further injury.
What Causes MCL Injuries?
40% of all knee injuries involve damage to a ligament, 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 too forcefully. They can also take place when landing or unnatural bending, such as if a cleat is stuck in grass while you’re moving.
Athletes in contact sports are the most likely to sustain an MCL injury. They can also occur in people who lift weights or lift heavy objects at their work.
Common Symptoms of MCL Injuries
Most people feel pain immediately on the inside of the joint when they experience an MCL sprain or tear. Other symptoms may include:
- Hearing or feeling a popping sound or feeling
- Pain or discomfort when trying to bear weight
- Tenderness along the inside of the joint
- Inflammation, either where the MCL is located or the whole knee
Sometimes you may feel like your knee is “shaky”, while other times the knee feels too stiff. If you experience any of the above symptoms, stop any strenuous activity immediately and schedule a physical examination in order to get a diagnosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of an MCL Injury in Winchester, MO
MCL injuries are diagnosed in a doctor’s office, emergency room or at a physical therapy center. In the examination, your Winchester, 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 physicians with knowledge of movement health in Winchester, MO will be able 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 magnetic field and computer-generated radio waves to produce detailed images of your soft tissue
- 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
Alternatively, you can come to the Axes location most convenient for you for a free, no-risk injury screening. While we can offer you an evaluation, Missouri law stipulates a prescription for further physical therapy.
Treating an MCL Injury in Winchester, MO
Right after your MCL injury, you should start with basic first aid: inflammation reduction, managing discomfort, and utilizing the R.I.C.E. Method of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. For mild injuries, the R.I.C.E method, over-the-counter pain relievers, and some time spent off your feet may be all you need to get mostly back to normal.
Grade 2 or 3 tears 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 until your knee is strong again. Your Axes physical therapist in Winchester, 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.
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. The surgery is performed by using a graft, either from one of your other ligaments or from another person, to reconstruct the MCL. You would be able to go home the day of the surgery. If you do require surgery in Winchester, MO, our physical therapists are experts at pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation to make your surgery and recovery as successful as possible.
How Can Physical Therapy in Winchester, MO Treat My MCL Injury?
The aim of physical therapy, when dealing with any injury, is to design safe and evidence-backed treatments, each aimed at helping a specific part of the body get back to optimal movement health. Physical therapy slowly and effectively improves strength in the strength in the muscles that power the knee, 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, passive movements 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, weight lifting equipment, or cardio machines such as a stationary bike
- 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 help you make greater strength gains while lifting lighter loads
- Athletic training and sports therapy for those whose main goal is to get back onto the court or field
At Axes Physical Therapy in Winchester, MO, all of our treatment plans are designed individually to each patient, proven through peer-reviewed research, and created alongside your physician, in order to deliver you the best client experience and get you back to doing what you love to do most.
Other services we offer in Winchester, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Winchester, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury is scary and anxiety-inducing at first, 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 Winchester, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.