Talking About ACL Injury

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Overview

An ACL injury is a rip or sprain of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

The anterior cruciate ligament is one of the strong bands of tissue that connects your thigh bone (femur) to your shinbone (tibia).

ACL injuries are common among athletes who play sports such as soccer, basketball, football, and downhill skiing. In most cases, it takes 6 to 9 weeks to recover from an ACL injury. However, the time may vary from person to person. The ACL injury does not recover on its own because the ligament does not have a blood supply. Therefore, you need to get surgery done to make sharp movements as an athlete.

ACL injury, if remains untreated, can damage your knee cartilage and even lead to osteoarthritis. Therefore if you have knee pain and are an athlete, you must visit the healthcare provider soon.

To diagnose the ACL injury, your healthcare provider will examine your knees and compare the injured to the uninjured. They will also check for swelling and redness around the joint. Moreover, they might also order an MRI test to know about the ACL injury. It indicates the amount of damage to the knee, other tissues, and the cartilage. Ultrasound can also help in the internal visualization of the structures. If you have knee pain and are physically active, you might get an ACL injury. To get an expert opinion, you can consult with an Orthopedic doctor in Lahore.

If your anterior cruciate ligament is injured, your knee may swell and become too painful to bear weight.

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of an ACL injury usually include:

  • A loud “popping” sensation in the knee can be heard on movement.
  • Severe pain and unable to move
  • Rapid swelling of the knee
  • Loss of movement
  • A feeling of instability

Causes

Ligaments connect one bone to another. The anterior cruciate ligaments cross in the middle of the knee, and their injuries are quite common in people taking an active part in sports and fitness activities.

An ACL injury may result from a direct blow to the knee or a collision, such as a football.

Risk factors

Several risk factors increase the chances of an ACL injury, including:

  • Being female — different factors may increase the possibility of a female having an ACL injury, like differences in anatomy, muscle strength, and hormonal influences.
  • Participating in certain strenuous sports, such as soccer, football, basketball, gymnastics, and downhill skiing
  • Using odd movement patterns, such as moving the knees inward during a squat
  • Wearing footwear or shoes that do not fit properly
  • Using sports equipment that is poorly maintained, such as ski bindings that aren’t adjusted properly

Complications

People with ACL injuries have a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis.

Other complications of an ACL injury include

  • Deterioration of joint cartilage
  • Less range of motion
  • Limping

Diagnosis

The doctor will check your knee for any deformity or swelling and tenderness. Once confirmed, a physical examination is a must. X-ray is done to check for any fracture. In some cases, MRI scans may be necessary.

Treatment

Treatment for an ACL injury varies widely. It depends on the stage it is diagnosed at. After going through the patient’s health history, the doctor may ask you to undergo surgery.

In extreme cases, surgery is advised to the patients based on the type of ACL injury. Surgery is advised depending on the growth plates.

Patients with ACL injuries may also need to go through arthroscopy. During this procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision to put a tool through which an arthroscope can be inserted into the joint.

Arthroscopy can be used to detect any injury.

The ACL injury can be treated by removing the remains of the torn ligament and then replacing it with a tendon taken from some other leg area, such as the hamstring or patellar tendon.

Often surgery is followed by physical therapy. Physical therapy can continue over 6 to 12 months, depending on the degree of the tear.

The Bottom Line

You must take your knee pain seriously, as it can indicate ACL injuries. If left untreated, you might not be able to make the fast movements as an athlete that you require. Therefore visiting a doctor is a must. To get an expert opinion, you can consult Dr. Muhammad Farrukh Bashir.

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