The ACL is one of four major ligaments in the knee and connects the femur to the tibia. An ACL injury can occur for a number of reasons. One of the most common events to cause an ACL injury is during sports activity but it can also happen from a fall. It can occur from landing awkwardly on your feet causing the knee to twist resulting in damage to the ligament or even during a tackle in a sports game.
When it comes to treating an ACL injury there are several approaches that can be taken depending on the severity of it. The most important goals for recovering from an ACL injury are to restore stability and function in the knee, prevent further damage to the knee and reduce pain. Here, we discuss the options available for successfully treating and recovering from this type of injury.
Options for treating an ACL injury:
- Treatment straight after injury
- Knee bracing
Treatment Straight After Injury
Immediately after the injury has occurred it is vital to try and reduce swelling. This can be achieved by applying ice to the area, elevating the leg and applying an elastic bandage. Until you are assessed by a medical professional or if you are awaiting further treatment, be sure to rest the leg as much as possible.
Treatment options depend on the severity of the tear and the stability of the knee as well as other factors including age, additional injuries to other parts of the knee and any previous damage to the affected area. In some cases, physiotherapy is required for rehabilitation. This non-surgical treatment method uses specific exercises and stretches to strengthen the ACL and the rest of the knee which in time, should lead to recovery. A knee brace may also be worn to offer additional support.
ACL reconstruction surgery typically takes place when the ligament has totally ruptured. Depending on the case, the surgery may involve repairing the ligament or if the damage is too severe a graft will be taken from the hamstring or groin area to create a new ligament. Unfortunately, the recovery period can take up to a year and rehabilitation involves a lot of rest, knee bracing and physiotherapy. This injury can take a long time to recover from and in some cases, can prevent you from doing activities in the future such as certain exercise or taking part in speck sports.
Webmd.com recommends wearing a knee brace can benefit those who have endured an ACL injury before and after treatment. The brace protects the knee and keeps it stable. The length of time one wears the brace depends on how severe the injury is. The brace will provide support to the knee throughout the healing process allowing movement to strengthen the area without causing too much strain on it. The brace will also lower the risk of any further injury to the ACL.
After an ACL injury, it is vital that you seek medical assistance so that you are able to undertake the correct treatment options, specific to your type of injury. Doing this will increase your chances of a full recovery and reduce the likeliness of experiencing injuries in the future.
Adam Dorrans specialises in the research and studies of health and fitness. Often contributing to academic papers and medical articles, Adam focuses on sports-related injury recovery and fitness journeys.