The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is an important ligament in your knee. This joint is fairly easy to damage if you’re an athlete or active in high-impact sports. In fact, there are about 100,000 to 200,000 cases of ACL tears reported each year in the United States.
While fairly common, an ACL tear is a serious injury, taking as long as a year for athletes to make a full recovery and resume playing sports.
At Crescent City Orthopedics, our physicians are skilled in every facet of orthopedic care. Because an ACL tear is such a common and serious injury, we’ve compiled this guide to help you navigate an ACL injury so that you can fully recover and resume your usual activities.
Let’s start with the basics. The ACL is a vital ligament in your knee that connects your thigh bone (femur) securely to your shinbone (tibia). Because the ACL sits in such an important place, injuring it results in serious issues with both your mobility and your balance.
People commonly injure their ACLs in sports that require plenty of sudden stops, turns, and moments of extreme impact. If you play a sport like basketball, soccer, gymnastics, or football, you’re more likely to sustain an ACL injury.
Women, unfortunately, are also far more likely to tear their ACLs. This is due to differences in muscular composition, strength, and physical structure.
You can generally tell you’ve torn your ACL if you experience a popping sensation in your knee. Swelling, instability, or a sensation that your leg may give way underneath you are also all signs of an ACL injury. Finally, you may feel like your knee is overly stiff and unable to perform its usual range of motion.
If you have an ACL tear, there are normally two routes to treatment. If your injury doesn’t require surgery, we would opt to treat it with weeks of physical therapy, braces, crutches, or other types of corrective devices.
If you do require surgery, we would reconstruct your damaged ligament by performing a graft. With a graft, we use a piece of tendon from another area of your body to replace your damaged ACL. The surgical route still involves recovery time and physical therapy to restore your complete range of motion.
At Crescent City Orthopedics, your orthopedic health is our greatest priority. If you have an ACL tear, you’ll want to give yourself the best chance of recovery so that you can get back to your normal activities. Call us or schedule an appointment through our website today.