Knee Treatment in Spartanburg, Duncan, and Greenville, SC
What is an ACL Tear?
An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is a tear or sprain of this strong band of tissue that helps connect your thigh bone to your shinbone. Most ACL injuries happen in sports like soccer, basketball, football, and downhill skiing where players stop or change direction quickly, jump, and land.
Symptoms of an ACL Tear
Signs and symptoms of an ACL tear usually include:
- A loud pop or a sensation of popping in the knee
- Severe pain and unable to continue any activity
- Swelling that increases quickly
- Minimal range of motion
- The feeling of an unstable knee
Causes of an ACL Tear
Most ACL injuries happen during sports or workouts that put stress on the knee. These causes include:
- Stopping and changing direction all of a sudden
- Turning with one foot firmly on the ground
- Having a bad landing after a jump
- Stopping suddenly
- Getting a direct blow to the knee, like a football tackle, or being in a crash
When the ligament is injured, the tissue usually tears in half or all the way. A minor injury might stretch the ligament, but it would still be intact.
ACL Tear Treatment
Treatment for your injury will depend on how severe your condition is. Treatment options include:
- RICE therapy – Rest, ice, compression, and elevation
- Physical therapy – When someone hurts their ACL, they first go through a few weeks of therapy. A physical therapist will show you exercises that you can do with their help or on your own at home. You could also use a brace to keep your knee stable and crutches so you don’t have to put weight on your knee for a while
- Surgery – During an ACL repair/reconstruction, the surgeon takes out the damaged ligament and replaces it with a piece of tendon, which connects muscle to the bone like a ligament. This new tissue is known as a graft
When to See an Orthopedic Doctor for an ACL Injury
If you hurt your knee and notice signs or symptoms of an ACL injury, you should see a doctor right away. It’s important to get a quick and accurate diagnosis so you can figure out how bad the injury is and get the right care. The sooner you receive care, the less damage will be done to your knee.
How to Prevent ACL Tears
ACL injuries can be less likely to happen if you train and exercise the right way. A sports medicine doctor, physical therapist, athletic trainer, or other sports medicine specialist can give you an evaluation, instructions, and feedback that can help you lower your risks.
- Core-strengthening exercises focus on the hips, pelvis, and lower abdomen. The goal is to teach athletes not to move their knees inward when they squat
- Exercises that strengthen leg muscles, especially the hamstrings, to make sure that the strength of the leg muscles as a whole is balanced
- When training and working out, the right way to jump and land from a jump is emphasized, along with the right knee position
- Training to improve technique when pivoting and cutting
Training to strengthen the legs, hips, and core muscles, as well as training to improve jumping and landing techniques and stop the knee from moving inward, may help to lower the higher risk of ACL injuries in athletes.