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The Low Down on ACL Injuries

acl injury with bandages

The ACL or anterior cruciate ligament is an incredibly important ligament that plays a large role in stabilizing your knee. Chances are when you hear about someone sustaining an ACL injury you think about athletes. But these injuries can happen to anyone and when they do it is important that you get seen right away.

What exactly is the ACL?

The ACL is one of four major ligaments that connects the femur to the knew. This ligament runs diagonally through the middle of the knee and prevents the tibia from sliding out in front of the femur. It also play a big part in knee stability when you rotate.

What is an ACL injury?

ACL injuries are some of the most common ligament injuries seen. It’s thought that there are around 100,000 reconstructions performed each year and 200,00 injuries.

Most injuries occur alongside additional injuries to the cartilage, other ligaments, and the meniscus.

How are ACL injuries diagnosed?

In order for ACL injuries to be diagnosed, you’ll need to undergo an MRI. This helps provide a clear image of the damage done to soft tissue.

What causes ACL injuries?

An ACL injury is most commonly caused when a person collides with an object or rotates in an unnatural way that tears the ligament. Most injuries are the result of a person pivoting with the foot planted firmly, stopping suddenly, landing incorrectly after jumping, or suddenly changing speeds and moving direction.

The most common signs of an ACL injury are a loud pop or popping sensation in the knee. This is typically followed by severe pain and a need to stop the activity. You’ll also notice swelling, a loss of a range of motion, and instability in the knee.

Should you notice any of these symptoms, you should get to the emergency room immediately.

How can a tear be treated?

Treatment for an ACL injury will depend on the extent of the injury. For those who do not require surgery, the doctor may put you in a knee brace and recommend physical therapy.

Surgery is most often recommended to maximize your recovery.

Risk Factors

Women are more likely than men to sustain an ACL injury. This is because there’s often an imbalance of strength between the quadriceps and hamstrings. The hamstring plays a large part in preventing your shin from moving forward and overextending the ACL.

After a person sustains an ACL injury they’re more likely to develop knee osteoarthritis. This occurs when the cartilage breaks down and the once smooth surface becomes rough.

If you’ve recently suffered a knee injury and are concerned your ACL has been affected, contact us. We can get an appointment scheduled for you and start you on the path toward recovery.