If you’re an athlete or weekend warrior, hearing the term “ACL injury” is nothing new. But for those who don’t know about the sports injury as extensively, we’re here to crack down on the basics.
An ACL injury, or anterior cruciate ligament injury, is a common sports injury that occurs when the knee falls victim to a sudden and hard twist or impact. This particular ligament is one of four ligaments in the knee that provides support and stabilization.
Who is at Risk for ACL Injuries?
Individuals who play high-impact sports such as football, rugby, ice hockey and even soccer are most at risk for ACL injuries. Women especially are several times more likely to suffer an ACL injury over men. There are a few reasons for this, one being that a groove called the intercondylar notch is narrower in women than in men, which doesn’t provide the ACL as much space for mobility. Typically, women’s hips are also proportionally wider, which affects knee alignment. And lastly, women’s knees are also less rigid than men’s, making them more prone to hyperextension (when the knee is pushed past its normal range of motion).
ACL Injury Symptoms
Symptoms of an ACL injury include:
- Immediate and severe pain
- You may hear a “pop”
- Inability to put weight on your knee
ACL Injury Treatment
If an ACL injury occurs or is suspected, proceed with the “RICE” procedure (rest, ice, compression, elevate). This procedure both stimulates healing and prevention from further injury.
- R – rest the knee
- I – apply an ice pack to control inflammation
- C – compress to control swelling
- E – elevate the injury ideally above the heart
Once you have tended to the injury, seek out professional medical help.
A minor ACL injury generally only needs rest to heal, which might involve and you might need using crutches until you can walk and jog normally. A rupture might need more extensive treatment. At Orthohealing in LA, our physicians aim to leverage your body’s own stem cells and regenerative properties for recovery. Our minimally-invasive treatments frequently repair chronically damaged tissue from the inside out without the pain and lengthy recovery and rehabilitation period associated with surgery.
Preventing an ACL Injury
If you’re frequently out on the playing field or know that you are at greater risk for an ACL injury, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t or can’t take extra precautions. It’s always important to ensure that your body is aligned with your knees, perform exercises to increase the strength in your hips and upper legs to take some of the stress off the knees, and always warm up and stretch before a game.
Receiving an ACL injury might be startling at first, but with the proper care and treatment, you can return to the game as quickly as possible. For treatment options for ACL injuries, please contact Orthohealing today at (310) 312-8095.