What is an ACL Injury?

For those who are involved in high-energy contact sports such as football, basketball, and soccer, an ACL injury is an all too familiar occurrence. Indeed, many of us who enjoy a more low-key routine can suffer from them too though.

The ACL is a ligament in the leg that controls many of the knee’s activities. An ACL injury can be debilitating. Fortunately, ACL tears and sprains are common and treatable. And with some preventative measures and a rigorous healing program, they can be gotten rid of easily!

ACL Injury Symptoms

The most common symptoms of an ACL injury include a popping sensation, swelling, knee pain and an inability to bear weight on the afflicted leg. If any of these should occur suddenly, it’s important to visit with a doctor immediately. This will prevent any further damage to the knee or its constituents.

Additional inuries include:

  • Pain: If you have a minor injury, you may not feel pain. You may feel sore along your knee’s joint line. Some people have trouble standing or putting pressure on the hurt leg.
  • Swelling: This is most likely to happen during the first 24 hours. You can reduce swelling by putting ice on your knee. Plus elevating (raising) your leg by propping it up on a pillow.
  • Trouble walking: If you’re able to put pressure on your hurt leg, you may notice that it’s harder than normal to walk. Some people find that the knee joint feels looser than it should.

Causes of an ACL Injury

Famously, ACL injuries can occur during high-intensity sports that put strain and pressure on the knees. A badly timed jump, a collision or an awkward pivot can damage the ligament easily.

People who play the following sports are more likely to experience an ACL injury:

  • soccer
  • football
  • tennis
  • basketball
  • volleyball
  • gymnastics

Common Risk Factors & Complications

Most obviously, intense exercise can put you at a higher risk for ACL damage. But being female, not warming up properly before activity and badly fitted shoes can also contribute. Though many ACL injuries can heal with few to no issues whatsoever. However the risk of arthritis increases when the ACL is damaged, which goes double if surgery is waranted for repair of the tissue.

Diagnosing an ACL Injury

Doctors often use imaging to rule out a fracture or some other cause for the knee pain, such as X-rays, ultrasounds and MRIs. However, most of the time a simple physical assessment is sufficient to diagnose. Although, to determine the severity, imaging is often rquired. Often the area will be swollen and tender, and the range of motion will be lessened, as well.

ACL Injury Prevention & Treatment

The best way to prevent ACL damage, both for those of us who are very active and those who aren’t, is to strengthen the leg and core muscles. This will help to stabilize the ACL itself and prevent it from picking up too much slack. A little attentiveness can go far.

An ACL injury should be immediately treated with the age-old RICE method:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

This technique will be held to reduce swelling and knee pain and shorten the recovery time for most. Sometimes, doctors will also recommend rehabilitation for a period to strengthen the injured ligament, particularly for those involved in sports. Depending on the severity of the damage, surgery may also be utilized in order to reconstruct the ligament itself. ACL reconstructive surgery can be rather major, and sometimes recovery takes up to a year.

If you are experiencing an ACL tear or injury , contact us today at 888-409-8006 for a specialist near you.


Knee Specialists

Our teams of qualified and skilled physicians provide a personalized experience in a caring and comfortable environment to enhance the quality of life of our patients. Utilizing the latest medical technologies and treatments, our staff are committed to delivering convenient and valuable services to meet the needs of the community.

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