Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear: What Is It?

The musculoskeletal system is an important part of the body because the structures help with movement. Also, they help form the body’s shape. Bones, muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons make up the system, and if there is one problem with any structure, the body can suffer from immobility, pain, and inflammation.

The most common problem is anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear. An ACL surgeon, such as Dr. Mitchell Larsen from Orem, can help treat this condition. Here is what you need to know:

What is an ACL rupture?

The ACL is a ligament that is important in making sure that the knee joint is stable. Made of strong fibrous material, it works by controlling too much knee motion through limiting joint mobility. An ACL rupture happens when the ligament is torn, which can cause serious pain, inflammation, and even immobility.

What causes an ACL tear?

This is an injury that happens when the ligament that supports the knee joint is torn. About 80 percent of sports-related ACL injuries are non-contact injuries. This means that ACL injuries often happen when the athletes suddenly change positions or lands from a jump.

Women are at a higher risk of suffering from ACL tears. The injury often occurs when a person lands flat-footed from a jump, changes direction suddenly or fast, overextends the knee joint, and changes speed while running.

What are the signs and symptoms of ACL injuries?

Man in the gym holding his kneeJust like any musculoskeletal problem or condition, ACL injury signs and symptoms include pain, swelling or inflammation, and difficulty of walking or running. If the injury is just mild, there can be no pain, but soreness is felt along the joint line of the knee. For more serious injuries, some people have problems with pressure on the affected leg and with standing.

In any muscular or bone injury, there is inflammation or swelling. It usually begins during the first 24 hours. Applying cold compress on the affected leg can help reduce swelling. Lastly, there is trouble walking, especially during the first day of the injury.

How is ACL treated?

ACL injuries can be extremely painful and may lead to being unsteady when doing activities such as sports. Depending on the person’s age and the severity of the condition, a ruptured ACL heals best with surgery and about a year of rehabilitation. Right after the injury, you can apply ice and elevate the leg to reduce swelling. Pain relievers can also help alleviate the pain. However, for more serious cases, surgery is the recommended treatment procedure.

Prevention is better than cure. Doing plyometric exercises can help make the bones and joints strong and stable, reducing the risk of ligament tears. Training and strengthening the joints can help reduce the risk of injuries.

An ACL injury can take a toll on one’s physical health and mobility. It is important to take precautions when doing sports activities, running, and even walking. Sudden movements can cause an ACL tear, so being careful is important, especially if you are an athlete.

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