Symptoms: An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury usually is accompanies with a popping sound and immediate knee pain. With an anterior cruciate ligament sprain, swelling will begin almost immediately and certainly within the first 12 hours. If the anterior cruciate ligament is stretched, the injury is classified as a strain, but if it’s torn it is classified as a tear. To determine if the ACL is torn, rather than strained, you probably won’t be able to straighten your leg.
Overview: Anterior cruciate ligament damage occurs during abrupt twisting or pivoting when your foot gets caught, causing your body to go one way and your leg the other.
In the United States, anterior crucial ligament injuries occur thousands of times annually and 70% of these are sports-related. ACL injuries are especially prevalent among skiers, gymnasts, basketball players, soccer players and football players. Female athletes are even more susceptible to ACL damage because their muscles, ligaments and joints are not as strong as male athletes and so they are unable to withstand as much pressure.
In the case of a mild ACL sprain or tear, noninvasive care is usually effective. Severe ACL tears, however, may require surgery. This is especially true in the case of athletes where surgery can ensure the ligament is strong enough to withstand the additional stress their bodies go through.
If you have an ACL sprain or tear, it’s important to see Dr. Suzan Starler, D.C. She will be able to relieve the pain, decrease the swelling and improve knee joint stability and motion through non-invasive techniques. She may also prescribe rehabilitative exercises to improve and speed up the recovery process for restoring and maintaining the knee joint’s functionality.