It’s not just pro athletes who tear the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in their knee — you could do the same thing playing with your kids in the park. The expert team at Orthopedic Specialists in Palm Harbor, Florida, has considerable experience diagnosing ACL tears and recommending a course of treatment that gets you back on your feet. If you’re experiencing knee pain or have injured your knee, call Orthopedic Specialists or book an appointment online today.
The ACL is a tough, fibrous connective tissue that joins the bones together in your knee. It’s one of several ligaments in the knee joint.
The other knee ligaments include the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) and collateral ligaments on each side of your knee. Cruciate ligaments work to stabilize your knee during flexion and extension movements.
ACL injuries commonly occur during a significant injury to the knee, but even minor pivoting can injure the ACL. The ACL can suffer stretching, tearing, or complete rupture. If you experience an injury to your ACL, your physician at Orthopedic Specialists grades it according to how badly the ligament is damaged and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.
ACL injuries are common in people who engage in active sports that involve:
Landing after a jump without correct technique can also damage your ACL.
Although sports are a common cause for ACL injuries, they can also happen in the course of a normal day; for example, if you twist your knee awkwardly or slip.
At the moment of injury, you might hear a popping sound as the ligament tears, and your knee might collapse. Over the following day, your knee is likely to swell and feel tender or painful. You may find you feel unstable on the affected leg or have difficulty walking normally.
Your physician at Orthopedic Specialists needs to confirm the diagnosis and assess the extent of the injury before being able to recommend the best treatment. The ACL isn’t capable of healing naturally, so treatment approaches depend on how much you use your knees.
If you’re an older adult who leads a quiet life, conservative treatments are probably enough to restore sufficient function, such as using a knee brace and following a physical therapy program.
Anyone physically active is likely to need surgery, as this is the only treatment that can repair the ACL. Surgery commonly involves reconstructing the ACL using a graft to bridge the gap between the two torn ends, but occasionally direct repair is possible. Recovery from ACL surgery generally takes around six months to a year and requires a carefully managed program of physical therapy to restore full function to your knee.
Don’t take any chances with a knee injury. Get a swift, accurate diagnosis and advanced treatment by calling Orthopedic Specialists or booking an appointment online today.