Everything You Should Know about ACL Injuries

ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries are one of the most prevalent causes of knee injuries. This is one of the tissue bands that secure the bones in your knee together. It also aids in maintaining knee stability. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) can be stretched or torn if you make an abrupt movement or rapid, sharp turn while sprinting or leaping. It is frequently excruciating and can make it difficult to walk or place pressure on the injured limb.

How Does It Occur?

Athletes frequently tear their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) when they abruptly change direction while sprinting. People who compete in soccer, football, tennis, basketball, volleyball, or gymnastics are more likely to twist their knees than, for example, cross-country athletes who progress forward at a constant pace. The combination of your speed and the way you twist or spin your knee increases the likelihood that you will stretch or rupture your ACL.

What are the Signs and Symptoms?

When their knee is injured, many individuals hear a cracking sound. However, it does not occur to everyone. The most prevalent symptoms include:

  • Pain. If your injury is minor, you may not experience discomfort. You may experience pain along the joint line of your knee. Some individuals have difficulty standing or applying pressure to the injured limb.
  • Swelling. This is most likely to occur within the first twenty-four hours. You can reduce swelling by applying ice to your knee and supporting your limb with a bolster.
  • Mobility issues. If you can place weight on your injured leg, you may observe that walking is more difficult than usual. Some individuals report that their knee feels looser than it should.

 

A reduced range of motion. After sustaining an ACL injury, you may be unable to extend and flex your knee normally.

 

How is a Diagnosis Made?

Your physician will want to know the specifics of how you injured your knee. They will examine both knees to determine if the painful knee appears different. Additionally, they may order any of the following:

  • Tests. Your physician may instruct you to recline on your back and bend your hips and/or legs at specific angles. They will then position their hands on various areas of your leg and move you around gingerly. If any of your bones move abnormally, this could indicate that your ACL is damaged.
  • X-ray. Soft tissues such ACL do not appear on X-rays, but your doctor may want to check for fractured bones.
  • MRI or sonography. This examination can reveal both soft tissue and bone. If your ACL is compromised, it should be visible on the images.

What is the Treatment?

It depends on the extent of your knee pain from ACL. Here are some options your physician may recommend:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications can reduce pain and oedema. Your physician may recommend over-the-counter medications or prescribe a harsher medication. For severe pain, your doctor may inject steroid medication into your knee.
  • Physical therapy. You may need this a few times per week to restore knee functionality. During your sessions, you will perform exercises designed to strengthen the knee muscles and restore their full range of motion. You may go home with a set of exercises to complete independently.
  • If your ACL is severely ruptured, if your knee gives way while walking, or if you’re an athlete, your doctor may recommend this procedure. A surgeon will extract the damaged ACL and replace it with tissue to promote the growth of a new ligament. Most surgical patients can return to sports with physical therapy within a year.

 

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