An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is a common one, especially for those people who engage in sports, such as football, basketball, soccer, tennis, running, or downhill skiing. The ACL is one of four ligaments in the knee that stabilize and hold the bones of your knee in place, and help facilitate movement of the knee. The sudden stops, twists, and turns associated with those sports commonly result in injury to your ACL.
Injury to your ACL
One of the most recognized symptoms of an ACL injury is a distinct popping noise. This is usually followed by pain that grows worse, a weakness and inability to bear weight, and rapid swelling. Though an ACL injury can be quite painful, the biggest threat for many is the inability to return fully to the activities which they enjoyed.
Although certain risky “maneuvers” may increase your risk, there isn’t much that can be done to avoid an ACL injury. As long as you adhere to a proper training regimen, and remember to stretch and warm up, your chances of injury will be in check. Even so, ACL damage can occur and is typically just the result of an accident, not necessarily an indication of any type of ineptitude in your ability, or untoward carelessness.
What to do if you suffer an injury
Once you suffer an injury, and notice the swelling, follow the RICE method to treat your injured knee - rest, ice, compression, elevation. If you think you’ve suffered an injury to your ACL, you need to seek immediate medical intervention. If nothing improves, or the pain worsens, after a full day of RICE, contact Orthocenter, in Marlboro Township, New Jersey, for evaluation and treatment.
With our team of physicians who specialize in orthopedic sports medicine, we bring the right blend of expert knowledge and experience with a vast array of orthopedic injury and treatment, to our patients. As no two injuries are exactly alike, our approach to ACL repair is individualized and includes state-of-the-art care.
Degree of injury to your ACL
Injury and damage to a ligament is referred to as a sprain. There are three degrees of injury you can sustain when it comes to this specific ligament. They are:
- Grade 1 sprain of the ACL: Mild damage; knee joint is still stable.
- Grade 2 sprain of the ACL: Ligament suffers partial tear; ligament is damaged and stretched.
- Grade 3 sprain of the ACL: This is a complete tear to the ACL. Unfortunately, a grade 3 sprain is the most common ACL injury.
Treatment for ACL repair
A Grade 1 sprain of the ACL requires no invasive treatment. Our orthopedic physicians will usually advise you to take it easy, keep the knee immobilized, possibly with a brace. You may require some physical therapy and will need to ease back into your regular activities, including sports.
Grade 2 and 3 sprains of the ACL will require a surgical approach. At Orthocenter we recommend and arthroscopic procedure. This procedure requires only a very small incision, allowing the surgeon to assess the damage and repair the tear. The arthroscopic approach not only results in far less stiffness, upon recovery, but also requires less “down time,” allowing you, with the proper physical therapy, to return to your active lifestyle, including sports, in far less time than traditional knee surgery.
Get back to living your best life
At Orthocenter, we understand the enjoyment you get from living the kind of active lifestyle that includes sports. Our approach is one that respects your desire to return to your previous activities and to avoid any lifelong repercussions of knee injury and knee surgery. Our customized treatment addresses your individual injury and your expectations for recovery. If you’ve suffered injury to your ACL, don’t wait. Contact Orthocenter today and get back in the game.