When you’re an athlete, you put a great deal of stress on your body. You put yourself at risk of injuries for this reason. For some athletes, an ACL injury can occur. It’s important to understand the condition and recognize its signs, so you can receive the treatment you need, when you need it.
About Your ACL
ACL stands for anterior cruciate ligament, which is part of your knee. Like other ligaments, the ACL consists of strong bands of tissue. This ligament connects the shinbone (tibia) and thighbone (femur).
Your ACL stabilizes movements that require your knee to rotate. It also aids in preventing your knee from hyperextending.
Types of ACL Injuries
You could develop an ACL sprain, which is when you stretch or tear your ligament. A sprain can vary in severity and range, from stretched but not torn to partially torn to completely torn. An avulsion fracture occurs when part of your ligament pulls away from your bone. In some cases, you may injure another part of your knee along with your ACL.
Signs of an ACL Injury
You might hear a popping noise or feel something in your knee popping at the time of the tear. You might notice swelling in your knee that develops within hours of the injury. Unfortunately, if you have immediate swelling, it usually means you have a more serious injury.
Pain is common with an ACL injury and occurs in the back or outside of your knee. The pain may worsen when you move your knee. The swelling and pain can make it difficult for you to move your knee. You might have a sensation like your knee is buckling or is ready to give out.
Most often, an ACL injury occurs when you participate in gymnastics, basketball, football, downhill skiing, or soccer. An injury tends to occur when you change directions or slow down abruptly. It could also happen when you land from a jump, pivot, or experience a direct blow to your knee like when someone tackles you in football.
You’re more at risk if you partake in activities that require the aforementioned movements. If you don’t condition properly, you could increase your risk. Your chances elevate if you wear poorly fitted shoes.
If you’re a woman, your risk is higher, possibly due to muscle strength, hormones, and anatomy characteristics.
Diagnosis and Treatment
To diagnose an ACL injury, your doctor will ask about your symptoms, examine your knee, and order diagnostic tests. Your doctor will most likely ask you to get imaging tests done to see inside the knee. By doing so, your doctor can know exactly the kind of injury you have as well as its extent.
After this is determined, a treatment plan can be established. If you have a minor or moderate injury, you may be able to get better with conservative treatments. However, if your ACL injury is severe, such as a total tear that separates the ACL into 2 pieces, you may need surgery.
Reducing Your Risk
You may reduce your risk of an ACL injury if you exercise and train correctly. For instance, you should focus on exercises that strengthen your leg muscles. This will not only strengthen your leg, it will also improve the way you move, giving you better control of your body. Strengthening your core muscles can help, as well. Always wear a pair of shoes that support your feet properly and fit you well.
ACL Injury Treatment in Missouri
The experts at Advanced Bone & Joint have an extensive background in musculoskeletal problems, including ACL injuries. We always strive to find the most effective solution for your ACL injuries and offer both conservative approaches and surgical solutions.
Book an appointment with Advanced Bone & Joint today, serving St. Peters, MO, and the surrounding area, if you have signs of an ACL injury. Call us at 636-229-4222 or fill out our online appointment scheduler.