ACL InjuriesACL injuries are one of the most common knee injuries affecting athletes. To better understand why tearing your ACL is so common, it helps to understand the mechanics of the ACL. The anterior cruciate ligament prevents the tibia (shin bone) from sliding forward and rotating on the femur (thigh bone). The anterior cruciate ligament is one of four ligaments that are critical to the stability of the knee joint. It is located at the center of the knee, and works together with the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), medial collateral ligament (MCL), and lateral collateral ligament (LCL) to help stabilize the knee joint.
Causes of ACL InjuriesAn ACL injury can occur for several reasons. During contact sports it’s the ACL can be injured when an athlete has his foot planted and is struck with a direct force to the knee. You don’t have to be an athlete to injure your ACL. One of the most common ways to injure your ACL is during a twisting or pivoting maneuver. Sometimes a "pop" can be heard at the time of injury.
Symptoms of a Torn ACLWhen an ACL injury occurs, you are unable to continue performing the activity that they were doing when the injury occurred. Swelling may occur within the first couple of hours. These symptoms can be similar to other traumatic knee injuries like meniscus tears and dislocated kneecaps so it’s crucial to consult with your doctor if you think you’re suffering from a torn ACL. X-rays help to determine if there are any fractures or underlying arthritis. A magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI) may be used to confirm the presence of a torn ACL and any further knee damage.
How to Treat a Torn ACLTreatment for ACL injuries is dependent on many factors including age, activity level, associated injuries, and the desire to return to previous activities. If you’re suffering from a torn ACL, there are several non-operative options available to you include physical therapy, wearing knee braces, and activity modifications.
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