MCL Injury | Woodhine Heights, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Woodhine Heights, MO. If someone plays sports or engages in other physical activity, 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 this be the end of my athletic career? At Axes Physical Therapy in Woodhine Heights, MO, we are driven by getting our patients back to sprinting down the court. While we’d like to be able to magically fix your MCL, we can make your recovery safe and effective through customized, evidence-based treatment plans. Physical therapy has been shown time and time again to be an integral component of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in Woodhine Heights, MO are all licensed and average more than 15 years of individual experience. For lasting and meaningful recovery, reach out to the Axes location nearest you or contact us online.
The Anatomy of the MCL
MCL an acronym for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is like a strong, firmly attached rope that affixes bone to bone and keeps joints stable. The MCL connects your upper shin bone to the inner surface of the bottom thigh bone, running along your inner knee, and keeps the knee from moving side to side. Its main purpose is to resist valgus pressure, or the knee being pushed too far towards the other one. It combines with three other ligaments to keep the knee stable:
- ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), which goes through the middle 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 controls backward movement
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which attaches the thigh bone to the fibula (the smaller bone the small bone behind the tibia) and helps keep the outer side of your knee joint stable
The knee is known for being one of our most complex joints. It depends on surrounding bone and muscle, and the tendons and ligaments in order to provide stability and function properly. When any knee injury, such as an MCL tear, occurs it can limit or completely restrict your mobility and compete like you’re used to, or just live a pain-free day-to-day life. Particular physical therapy exercises and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been demonstrated through evidence to help those who have suffered an MCL injury reduce pain and get back 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 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 levels:
- Grade 1 — A grade 1 MCL injury refers to a sprain, or a tear where less than 10% of the MCL has been torn. These are not generally severe, and don’t result in much instability. Your knee will feel tender, and you may also experience soreness.
- Grade 2 — This is a more moderate tear, generally to the superficial part of the MCL. Your knee will be slightly unstable, and your joint may be loose when moved by hand. A grade 2 injury will result in significantly more pain than a grade 2 MCL injury.
- Grade 3 — A grade 3 tear is a complete tear, or separation from the bone. Your knee will be significantly unstable. You will likely feel 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.
However significant your MCL injuries, the team of professional Woodhine Heights, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, alongside your doctor, create an exhaustive plan uniquely made for you and your injuries aimed at returning you to the life you’re used to in a safe and effective manner.
MCL Injuries: Causes and Symptoms
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 by the knee rotating more than the ligament can support. They can also take place when 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 are also common in those 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
If you suffer an MCL injury in Woodhine Heights, MO, you’ll likely notice the pain right away. Other symptoms may include:
- A sudden “pop” on the inside of your knee
- Feeling like the may buckle
- Pain or discomfort when trying to bear weight
- Tenderness on the inside of your knee
- Inflammation, either on the inside of the knee or the entire knee joint
Sometimes your knee may feel like it’s wobbling when you walk, even if walking doesn’t hurt, or in other cases you’ll barely be able to move the knee. Any time you feel pain or instability in your knee, stop any strenuous activity immediately and seek medical treatment for a diagnosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of an MCL Injury in Woodhine Heights, MO
Diagnosing an MCL injury requires going to a physical examination. The exam will usually start with a doctor or physical therapist in Woodhine Heights, MO asking how the injury occurred. They’ll then bend your knee and apply slight pressure to the outside of it, noting how much pain you are in 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 physicians that specialize in the musculoskeletal system in Woodhine Heights, MO are qualified to diagnose 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 detailed images of your soft tissue
- An ultrasound, which uses sound waves and can help determine the grade of your injury
- An X-ray, which does not show soft tissue, 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 Revised Statute §334.506 requires that physical therapy be prescribed by a physician.
How to Treat and MCL Injury in Woodhine Heights, MO
The initial treatment of an MCL injury consists of basic first aid: swelling reduction, relieving 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 sufficient for your body to heal itself.
More significant 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 time of limited activity to allow your body to heal safely. Your Axes physical therapist in Woodhine Heights, 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. With physical therapy, you’ll still continue icing your knee and taking anti-inflammatory pain 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 carried out by using a graft, either from one of your other ligaments or an organ donor, to reattach the torn sections. The surgery is an outpatient procedure. If you do require surgery in Woodhine Heights, 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 Woodhine Heights, 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. 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 knee so you can get back to what you love most and prevent further injury. Depending on you and your injuries, your treatment plan may include:
- At the start, passive movements performed by your physical therapist to help restore normal functionality
- More active exercises and stretches later to further develop strength and flexibility
- Exercises with resistant bands, weight lifting equipment, or cardio machines such as an elliptical
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, which has been proven to help accelerate knee ligament healing
- Kinesio Taping®, which keeps the knee stable and encourages normal function
- 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 Woodhine Heights, MO, all of our treatment plans are as unique as each patient, and created with the help of your physician, in order to deliver you the best client experience and get you back to the activities you love.
Other services we offer in Woodhine Heights, MO include:
- Vestibular Therapy
- Concussion Treatment
- Soft Tissue Mobilization
- Post Surgical Rehabilitation
- Shin Splint Treatment
- Direct Access Physical Therapy
- Gait Analysis
- Pelvic Floor Therapy
- Dry Needling Near Me
- Tendonitis Treatment
Schedule an Appointment With an Axes Physical Therapist in Woodhine Heights, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury is scary and anxiety-inducing at first, especially if you’re an athlete, 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. 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 Woodhine Heights, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.