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What You Should Know About ACL Injuries

What You Should Know About ACL Injuries

Lots of athletes experience the pain of ACL injuries. If you have this type of injury, you may be worried that you’ll never be the same athlete you were before. Knowing a little more about ACL injuries can help put your mind at ease and make sure you’re doing everything you can to prevent an ACL injury. It’s very important to understand this very common injury and treat it properly through physical therapy.

What is an ACL injury? 

A tear or sprain of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) constitutes an ACL injury. One of the most important ligaments in your knee, the ACL, can suffer a tear that can be exceedingly painful. Over 100,000 cases are documented each year just in the United States, making it one of the most frequent knee injuries. 

ACL injuries primarily affect athletes. Thction or jumping and landing. The knee rotates inward during this type of action, rupturing the ligaments in the process. 

Basketball, soccer, football, and skiing are the most common sports to cause ACL injuries. It’s critical to prepare your knees for the impending cold weather and avoid knee injuries, especially if you run. ACL injuries are more common in female athletes than in male athletes. This is most likely caused by variations in the anatomy of the muscles. 

The ligament can be torn due to a sudden change in direction, abrupt pauses, an erroneous landing after a jump, or a severe collision.

ACL Injury Symptoms 

The earliest and most typical sign of an ACL tear is a noticeable “pop” in the knee. Many people who have an ACL tear report feeling their knee “give out” from beneath them. Then comes a sharp, unexpected ache in the area. 

The next 24 hours will see some swelling in your knee. It’s critical to get medical attention right away if you exhibit any signs of an ACL tear. Neglecting an ACL injury puts you at a significantly higher chance of suffering more harm.

1. Preventative Training Can Reduce Risk

Preventative training and exercises, especially when done on a regular routine, can reduce the chance of ACL or other injuries by as much as 50%. Regular preventative training keeps your muscles in shape and flexible so when you’re participating in sports, you don’t overwork your muscles. Preventative training should include strength training and biofeedback training approximately 2-3 times each week. But it’s also important not to over-train, which can increase the risk of injury. Listening to your coach and physical therapist will help you develop the best preventative training regimen to reduce the risk of injury and stay healthy.

Be Aware of the Temperature

Also, be preventative regarding the hotter times of the year like in the summer. Studies have shown that these increased temperatures in the desert of Peoria, Arizona can improve the likelihood that muscles will tighten much more often. This higher likelihood then causes more ACL complications. Make sure to be aware of this and stay loose. When in doubt, stretch it out.

Learn proper movement techniques to safeguard your knees. To support your knees and ankles, build up your body’s awareness, strength, and balance. Always place your knees over your feet when you jump, land, halt, and move. NEVER allow your knees to cave in. Become stronger in your thighs and hips. Before practices and games, warm up and stretch. Practice several drills until the movement patterns become automatic and you no longer need to think about them. Tell yourself: 

Despite variations in the precise exercises and drills they use, effective injury prevention programs all have the same main objective: flexibility and strength (particularly of the core, hips, and legs), balance, agility, and your ability to jump and land safely.

2. ACL Injuries Occur in Non-contact Sports, too

Many people think injuries are more likely in contact sports like football. But the majority of ACL injuries occur in non-contact sports like soccer. Contact sports aren’t the only way that these injuries can occur. If you move the wrong way or haven’t stretched and trained properly, you’re just as likely to get hurt as if you participate in a contact sport. ACL injuries occur because of the way the body moves more than contact with the ACL itself. That’s why soccer players can get ACL injuries more easily than players in other sports.

Top 7 Sports with ACL Injuries in High School:

3. Women are at Higher Risk

Women’s bone structures are slightly different than men’s bone structures. Because of the angle of women’s pelvises, they put increased pressure on their knees when they run and participate in sports. That means women are at a higher risk for ACL injuries than men simply because of the way their bodies work. That doesn’t mean men can’t injure their ACLs, but women are more likely to experience this particular injury.

4. ACL Injuries can Have Additional Damage at the Same Time

An ACL injury is bad enough on its own, but it’s often not the only injury. Many people experience additional injuries at the same time as an ACL injury. When that happens, surgery is often recommended for treatment so additional damage can be treated at the same time. Even if the ACL injury is the only injury, a complete tear in the ACL requires surgery to repair. After that surgery takes place, it is important to schedule a physical therapy appointment and understand what that process looks like moving forward.

5. ACL Injuries Can Lead to Problems Later in Life

Even if your ACL heals properly through surgery or other physical therapy treatment, people who experience ACL injuries are likely to experience problems later in life. Specifically, people with ACL injuries are at an increased risk for osteoarthritis later in life. The damage to the ACL has a long-term impact on the body. Even if the ACL heals, the repair is not as good as the original ACL, which can cause pain or other problems years down the road. This reiterates the importance and emphasis on a proper post-surgery recovery plan. These problems have to be treated so you don’t compromise your mobility and well-being.

Whether you’re trying to train properly in Peoria and prevent ACL injuries or you’ve just been hurt and want to know what to expect, knowing a few things about ACL injuries can help you know how to proceed to stay healthy and active. If you have experienced 

Caring for an ACL Tear 

The best course of action for an ACL tear can vary depending on the severity of the damage. The majority of the time, surgery is necessary for a patient to heal effectively; however, in some instances, nonsurgical treatments are effective. All non-invasive therapeutic options are investigated in sports medicine. 

Patients who engage in less physical activity can get by with nonsurgical treatment. For instance, elderly people who don’t put as much stress on their knees during activities may be treated conservatively. Furthermore, an elderly patient’s ruptured ACL may occasionally be managed with a brace or a course of physical therapy. If you frequently exercise and put strain on your ACL, surgery is required to rebuild it. 

If you have an ACL injury, physical therapy can help you recover more quickly so you can get back in the game. Contact us today at Desert Edge Physical Therapy to discuss your options to heal from your ACL injury quickly and safely.

published on Saturday, July 23rd, 2022