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The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) connects the thigh bone to the shin bone and is a common part of the knee to sustain an injury. ACL injuries tend to be tears or sprains that occur when taking part in high-impact sports, such as basketball or skiing. The frequent jumping and changes in direction required in these sports put pressure on your knees, and an ACL injury can leave you feeling unstable when you're on your feet. Here's an overview of ACL injuries:
When an ACL injury occurs, it's common to hear or feel your knee popping and your knee will swell rapidly. Due to the swelling, your range of motion in the affected knee will be limited. ACL injuries are very painful, and you will be forced to stop whatever activity you were doing when the injury occurred. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may find you are unable to bear weight on the affected leg.
Diagnosis And Treatment Approach
Your doctor will diagnose ACL by examining your knee, which may include manipulating your knee into a range of positions, and they will refer you for diagnostic imaging, such as an X-ray or MRI. Imaging will allow your doctor to rule out a bone fracture, see the extent of the damage to the ligament and determine whether any other surrounding tissue has been damaged.
As with any ligament injury, you need to rest your knee when you have an ACL injury. Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatories to help bring the swelling down, as this can speed up healing, and pain medication can also be provided. You will also be referred to a physiotherapist at a knee rehabilitation clinic. Your physiotherapist will formulate a stretching and gentle exercise program to strengthen your knee and improve the range of motion. They may also measure you for a custom-made knee brace, which will help support and stabilise your knee during your recovery period. In rare cases, you may require reconstructive surgery if your knee does not heal well. The procedure involves replacing the damaged ligament with a piece of tendon, which can be from a donor or from your own knee. After surgery, you will be referred back to your physiotherapist for another round of knee rehabilitation.
If you sustain a knee injury, don't delay seeing your doctor. Prompt treatment of this kind of injury can affect how well the knee heals and how quickly you can get back to enjoying being active.Share