Treatment of an ACL injury depends on the severity of the tear or sprain. Individuals that experience ACL injuries commonly take part in sports or activities that involve jumping, along with quick stops and changes in direction. It is not known why, but female athletes are more likely to experience an ACL sprain than male athletes. To learn more about an ACL injury in Oklahoma City, contact us.
What is an ACL Injury?
ACL stands for anterior cruciate ligament, a major ligament in the knee joint. Paired with the posterior cruciate ligament, they make an X that controls the back and forth motion of the knee joint. The ACL keeps the tibia from sliding out in front of the femur, along with supporting rotation of the joint. Occasionally, ACL injuries concur with damage to other parts of the knee.
Grades of ACL Injuries
The severity of ACL injuries is explained in grades, and the injury is usually described as a sprain. Grade one sprains are only stretched out a bit, but the ACL still keeps everything in its place. Grade two sprains are often referred to as a partial tear, but the tendon is still intact. It is just stretched past the point of providing stability for the joint. A grade three sprain is actually a complete tear, where the tendon is in two pieces. This is the type of ACL injury that requires surgery.
Patients with an ACL injury often experience swelling, tenderness, and limited range of motion within the first 24 hours after the injury occurred. This can also be accompanied by pain while walking or bearing weight on the knee.
Our doctor will diagnose your injury by running tests like an x-ray, ultrasound, and MRI to determine if there is any other damage to the knee and leg. The doctor will also inquire about your medical history and current medications and dietary supplements.
Often, minor ACL injuries can be treated at home using the RICE method: rest, ice, compress, and elevate. Physical therapy may also be recommended by our doctor to improve range of mobility along with strengthening the muscles. However, this approach is usually taken with patients with moderately active lives. Athletes are more likely to need surgery since once a knee injury occurs, it is more likely to happen again, especially if not treated the first time.
As mentioned above, surgery is usually reserved for patients with a complete ACL tear, those who have more than one muscle tear, and/or those who live active lifestyles. During surgery, the tendon cannot just be sutured back together. It is replaced. After surgery, our doctor will probably prescribe physical therapy.