Have you ever experienced falling into the ground clutching your knee in agony? If so, there is a chance to have an A.C.L. tear. A.C.L. injury tends to be very painful, and it is vital to find proper treatment. Managing these injuries will ensure that regaining maximum strength and movement of the patient’s joint increases the rehabilitation process’s efficiency. The injury level and the required degree of recovery will decide the best possible treatment. These involve rest, physiotherapy, wearing an A.C.L. brace and undergoing reconstructive surgery, or possibly mixing these treatments.
What are A.C.L. Injuries?
An A.C.L. injury is a tear or sprain of the anterior cruciate ligament (A.C.L.), one of the major ligaments in your knee. A.C.L. injuries usually happen during sports that sudden stops or changes in direction, jumping and landing, for example, soccer, basketball, football, and downhill skiing. Most people hear or feel a sound in the knee that pops when an A.C.L. injury happens. Your knee may swell, feel uneasy, and become extremely painful to bear weight.
Causes and Symptoms
The symptoms of A.C.L. injuries denote a tear or sprain in the A.C.L. – a vital knee ligament. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that attach bones. The A.C.L. intersects the knee and links your thigh bone to your shinbone. Sports that involve sudden stops, changes in direction, or jumping and landing are the leading causes of this injury—activities in which direct blows can also cause an A.C.L. tear or A.C.L. sprain. Also, females have a risk factor while wearing ill-fitting shoes during high activity.
Here is a list of symptoms:
- hearing a “popping” noise
- feeling the knee giving out
- sudden instability
- pain or discomfort
- swelling within 24 hours
- loss of full range of motion
- joint tenderness
List of Risk injuries for teens
The most athletically active age group are teens, and they have the highest possible risk of A.C.L. injuries. Girls are five to eight times more likely than boys to tear ACLS for some possible reasons:
- They tend to put more stress on their ligaments compared to their muscles.
- At puberty, boys grow in height and develop their lower leg muscles at the same time. When girls succeed, they don’t tend to produce lower leg strength unless they train for it.
- Girls tend to land with a straighter knee than boys, reducing their muscles’ effectiveness as shock absorbers.
- Girls often let their knees drop inward during cutting/pivoting/landing maneuvers, putting more considerable stresses on the A.C.L.
- Girls tend to have more strength in their quadriceps muscles than their hamstring muscles, emphasizing the A.C.L.
A.C.L. Injuries Treatment
The treatment plan for an A.C.L. tear or sprain depends on several factors and range from first aid to surgery. Applying ice, elevation, and rest for the knee is the first set of treatments. Doctors may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications or offer steroid injections if warranted. A proper knee brace can also provide support while healing. Besides, physical therapy to strengthen the muscles all over the knee can help patients regain a full range of motion. If the A.C.L. is badly torn, surgery may be inevitable. During this procedure, the surgeon removes the damaged A.C.L. and replaces it with tissue that stimulates new ligament growth. The best way of treatment is to resolving stability while stopping future damage. It’s critical that patients follow their doctor’s advice while recovering and use a proper knee brace, or they may face a lifetime of unnecessary residual difficulties following an A.C.L. injury.
First-aid care can reduce pain and swell immediately after an injury to your knee. R.I.C.E. concept of self-care at home:
- Rest – Rest your body for healing and limit weight bearing on your knee.
- Ice – When you’re awake, apply ice to your knee every two hours for 20 minutes at a time.
- Compression – Wrap an elastic bandage or compression wrap around your neck.
- Elevation – Lie down with your knee propped up on pillows.
ACL Injuries Rehabilitation
Medical treatment for ACL injury starts with several weeks of rehabilitative therapy. A physical therapist will teach you how to work on exercises that you need to perform, either with continued monitoring or at home. You may also wear a brace to stabilize your knee and use crutches for a while to prevent putting weight on your knee. The objective of rehabilitation is to lessen pain and swelling. This physical therapy course may successfully treat an ACL injury of relatively inactive individuals, engage in moderate exercise and recreational activities, or reduce your stress on the knees by playing sports.
Surgeries for Severe ACL Injuries
Your doctor may suggest surgery if:
- You are an athlete and want to pursue the sport, especially if the sport involves jumping, cutting, or pivoting
- More than one ligament or the meniscus in your knee is also injured.
- The injury is making your knee buckle during everyday activities.
During ACL reconstruction, the surgeon detaches the damaged ligament and replaces it with a tendon segment, tissue close to a ligament that links muscle to bone. This replacement tissue is called a graft. Your surgeon will use a piece of tendon from a deceased donor. After surgery, you will continue another course of rehabilitative therapy. Successful ACL reconstruction paired with careful rehabilitation can usually bring back stability function on your knee. There is no exact time frame for athletes to return to play. Recent research indicates that up to one-third of athletes undergo another tear in the same or opposite knee within two years. You can reduce the risk of reinjury if you have a lengthy recovery period. Generally, it takes more than one year before athletes can safely get back on track. Doctors and physical therapists will conduct tests to measure your knee’s stability, strength function, and readiness to return to sports activities at some rehabilitation. It is essential to ensure that strength, peace, and movement patterns are optimized before you can return to action with a risk for ACL injury.