Your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is located in the middle of each knee. It’s an important tissue that connects your bones and prevents them from becoming displaced. An ACL injury severely limits the stability in your knee as it accounts for 85% of the total restraining force preventing anterior tibial displacement.
ACL injuries are the most common among the four ligaments in the knee. They are usually caused by sudden movement rather than an external impact. Many athletes are all too familiar with an ACL tear for this reason.
It usually happens while playing sports
Professional athletes and amateur sports enthusiasts alike should be aware of the risk of ACL injuries, particularly if they play sports like soccer, football, tennis, or gymnastics. These activities all involve speed and sudden movements. Combined, these factors increase the risk of an ACL tear.
Movements and activities that may contribute to this injury include:
- Changing direction suddenly while moving at high speed
- Pivoting your leg while your foot remains motionless
- Wearing footwear without proper support
- Playing on artificial turf surfaces
- Participating in intensive physical activities while out of shape
Women are also more likely to experience an ACL tear. This may be due to the differences in hormones, muscle strength, and other factors in the anatomy.
An ACL tear doesn’t heal on its own
If left untreated, an ACL tear prevents you from returning to your regular sports and activities. Treating the ACL tear requires surgery as Dr. Dalal fashions a new ligament to replace the torn ligament.
While physical therapy can help with an ACL tear, it doesn’t guarantee a full recovery. After the rehabilitation process, you might still find that you need a surgical procedure. Once the surgery is complete, your knee should regain its range of motion in 2-6 months. However, depending on the severity of the injury and the recovery treatments, it can take longer.
According to a study, 81% of those who undergo ACL reconstruction return to sports. Yet only 55% can resume activities at their prior performance level. Follow-up rehabilitation methods can improve the results of the surgery.
It increases the risk of osteoarthritis
If you’ve had an ACL tear, it may increase your chances of developing osteoarthritis. This is the case regardless of whether you’ve had surgery. The severity of the original injury, as well as the level of activity after recovery, can influence the risk of later developing arthritis.
Generally, healthy tips to prevent further complications or injuring the ACL in the first place include strengthening the leg muscle, learning proper techniques for fast pivots and sudden movements, and developing your core and overall body strength.
If you think you may have an ACL tear, contact the specialists at Tri-State Orthopaedics online or by phone so Dr. Dalal can advise you immediately on the best course of action.