ACL Tear: Causes, Treatment And Prevention

When it comes to sports injuries, a torn ACL is a very common one. The ACL is the anterior cruciate ligament, which is one of the primary knee ligaments. It is responsible for keeping the knee stable and is often the cause of a knee "giving out." People who have a torn ACL often choose to have surgery, but that is not the only treatment option available. Here are some things to know about having an ACL tear and what treatments are available.

What Causes an ACL Tear?

Most ACL tears are the result of a sports injury, though not usually a contact injury. They occur from a particular physical movement that causes the tear, such as a hard landing from a high jump or pivoting at the wrong angle. The tear can also occur from trauma due to a work-related injury, fall, rough play, or vehicle collision.

What Are the Symptoms?

There are a few different things you might experience when you have an ACL tear. The initial feeling of this injury is feeling that your knee has just given out. You may hear a popping sound of your knee at the very moment it gives out. In some cases, it is so loud other people around you can also hear it. At the same time, you will probably lose stability, at least for a moment. Within a few minutes, your knee will begin to swell and you will start experiencing pain.

If you experience these symptoms, your doctor will perform a few tests, including a physical examination. They will also do a Lachman test, which looks for abnormal movement of the tibia, as well as a pivot shift maneuver test.

How is it Treated?

There are a variety of treatments for an ACL tear, including non-surgical and surgical treatments. These treatments help manage pain and encourage healing. Your doctor will want to try non-surgical treatments first before going to surgery as a last resort. The first step of treatment is typically to perform x-rays to see how bad the tear is, then recommend rehabilitation and physical therapy. Some doctors also recommend chiropractic care from a clinic, like Florida Personal Injury Physicians, because this can help you further improve your mobility.

If the ACL tear is severe or combined with another injury, you might need surgery. During surgery, the ACL that is torn is replaced by a graft that is made of tendons. This works much better than using sutures for the torn ACL, because that has a likelihood of failing over time.