Tips for an ACL Knee Injury

Holly B. is an active professional in her late twenties who spends her free time playing recreational flag football and league basketball. She shares her experience with us as she explores the world of sports.

This week one of the teens I mentor injured her knee.  Based on her symptoms, there’s a possibility that it’s an ACL tear, though we won’t know for sure until she has an MRI.  She currently plays high school basketball and reminds me a bit of myself when I was her age. She hurt her knee after making a layup and heard a pop when she landed on her feet.

After her injury I had the opportunity to share with her about my own ACL tear experience, and give her advice on her possible ACL injury. Here were some of the tips I gave her:

RICE Method – Like many other injuries, immediate treatment for a knee injury usually begins with the RICE method… rest, ice, compression and elevation. These four things help to minimize swelling and improves the time it takes to get back on your feet again.

See Your Doctor – I think a lot of people try to self-heal at home, but going to the doctor gives you peace of mind. You’ll know whether or not you have torn a ligament and they will lay out all the treatment options.

Wear a Knee BraceACL knee braces help with stability so you don’t injure yourself further. They also make it easier for you to move around. ACL knee braces are also helpful in preventing re-injury, especially supports with technology like the DonJoy Armor Fourcepoint.

Strengthen Your Muscles – The leg muscles surrounding the knee are a key factor in helping prevent knee injuries from occurring in the first place. Once your doctor gives you the green light to start working out again, go for it! You can even do a session or two of physical therapy and ask the therapist to show you some key strengthening exercises you can do on your own.

I’m not a doctor so if you’ve injured your knee, you should see a physician. These are just some tips shared with me that I passed on to someone going through a similar situation.

Insights on Meniscus Tears

Holly B. is an active professional in her late twenties who spends her free time playing recreational flag football and league basketball. She recently tore her ACL and will be sharing her experiences with us as she works towards getting back into sports.

One thing that surprised me about my ACL tear is that I also tore my meniscus. First off, I didn’t think my knee injury was that big of a deal until the MRI revealed my torn ACL. Then I thought that the meniscus was another ligament in my knee. As it turns out, the meniscus is actually cartilage that helps cushion the structures in your knee as you move. During my ACL surgery, my doctor confirmed that my meniscus was torn and repaired it.

I soon learned that tearing a meniscus is fairly common. Meniscus tears can happen during sports or even when performing awkward movements during everyday activities. My physical therapist had her meniscus repaired just last year. She tore hers simply while running downhill – nothing too crazy, but it was enough to do damage to her knee.

Luckily, meniscus tears can be repaired with minimally invasive arthroscopic knee surgery. This can be a surgery on its own, like what my physical therapist had to do, or in conjunction with other knee injuries, as with my ACL surgery. Some meniscus tears even heal on their own, depending on the size of the tear and its location. Regardless, make sure you’re protecting your knees and its structures when you’re playing sports and participating in physical activity. (Hint: Check out these knee braces!)

P.S. If you think you may have torn your meniscus or injured your knee in any way, check with your doctor for the correct diagnosis and treatment.