A torn or sprained anterior cruciate ligament (acl) is an injury that involves damage to the anterior cruciate ligament of the knee. The ACL is one of the most important of the 4 knee ligaments. It connects the thighbone to the shinbone. Symptoms of this injury include pain and a popping sound at the time of the injury. There is usually also swelling and knee instability. In many cases, there is concurrent damage to other knee structures, e.g. ligaments, cartilage or meniscus.
Torn or sprained anterior cruciate ligament injuries typically happen to athletes. Those in sports like alpine skiing, soccer, football or basketball are especially vulnerable. Sports that involve sudden stops and changes in direction of movement are more likely to produce this injury.
In extreme cases, an ACL injury can lead to osteoarthritis if not properly treated.
Besides sudden stops or changes in direction, a torn ACL can be the result of landing awkwardly from a jump. You can also receive this injury if you receive a direct blow to the knee.
Symptoms Of An ACL Tear
The following symptoms are indicative of having suffered an ACL injury:
A loud pop at the time the injury is incurred, or alternatively a popping sensation in the knee;
Severe knee pain and inability to continue participating in the sporting activity;
A reduced range of motion of the knee;
Immediate swelling of the knee;
A torn ACL can also be accompanied by a feeling that your knee may be “giving way” or unable to support your body weight.
Treatment of an ACL injury will usually involve resting the ACL by keeping your weight off it as much as possible. The patient should consider crutches to keep weight off the knee while walking or standing.
Those suffering from a severe ACL injury should consider one of the braces below, subject to obtaining guidance from their physicians. For more information on how a knee brace can help heal an injury of this type, please read this post.
Other treatment measures for an ACL injury may include icing it regularly and keeping it elevated (above heart level) when lying or sitting. Wearing a knee sleeve or elastic bandage will provide compression and help in the healing process.
What To Do If You Think You Have A Torn ACL
This is a potentially serious injury. If you think that the symptoms you are or have experienced indicate that you have a torn ACL, you should see a doctor right away.
How To Reduce The Risk Of A Torn ACL
If you have suffered an ACL injury or would like to reduce the likelihood that one may occur, you can follow an exercise program that will help achieve this. These exercise would:
Strengthen your leg muscles;
Strengthen the patient’s core, such as hips, lower abdomen and pelvis.
To further reduce the risk of a torn ACL, the patient can also engage the services of a jumping coach who can improve his/her technique when jumping or when landing from a jump. He/she can also work to improve his/her technique when pivoting and changing direction on the run.