The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is one of the most frequently injured components of the knee. Functioning amidst a complex system of ligaments and muscles, the ACL provides stability while the knee bends, straightens, and rotates, proving crucial to walking, running, and all forms of exercise. However, if the knee is straightened or hyperextended and simultaneously pivots, the ACL can sprain or tear, causing immense swelling, varying levels of pain, and difficulty in mobility. Sprains and tears are particularly common for those who participate in rigorous athletics or among those with lower muscle mass.
What should I do?
If you suspect you have torn or sprained your ACL, you should rest and elevate your leg while applying ice and moderate pressure. This at-home treatment will reduce the initial pain and decrease swelling.
Additionally, immediately cease activity in athletic or exercise involvement. Continued participation in sports or intense workouts could cause further sprain damage and extend the length of your treatment process.
While at-home treatment can help relieve the pain, serious underlying problems will have to be assessed by a doctor. Immediately seek medical attention to evaluate the damage from the sprain accurately. In more severe cases, extensive medical treatment may be required.
What are my treatment options?
Treatment plans will vary based on the severity of the tear or sprain. In situations where the injury is minor, doctors will likely recommend basic home-remedies. They could suggest the use of crutches to help alleviate some of the pressure from your knees. In circumstances where the pain is intense, practitioners may recommend common pain relief and anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. They may also prescribe stronger medications or, for especially distressing sprains, inject the knee with steroids to promote swelling reduction and ligament re-growth. Surgery may be required in particularly critical situations.
Because of how a torn or sprained ACL limits a patient’s range of motion, doctors will likely suggest physical therapy treatment. Physical therapy will help you regain mobility and acclimate back to your previous strength.
Will I require surgery?
Most cases of ACL sprains or tears will not require surgery. However, if your injury is severe, the knees fail to support you when walking, or if you are an athlete, doctors will likely suggest surgical treatment. During the procedure, they will remove the torn ACL and put healthy tissue in its place. This tissue will promote new ligament growth. While the surgery is relatively short and widely-practiced, it could take athletes up to a year to fully recover and attain previous performance quality.
Advanced Sports and Orthopedics provides the Lehi and Saratoga Springs, Utah, area with quality athletic care. Specializing in surgical and non-surgical treatments for various sprains and tears, Advanced Sports and Orthopedics team members practice individualized attention in the treatment of each patient in the Lehi and Saratoga Springs area. If you are suffering the symptoms of a sprained or torn ACL, seek medical treatment now. We have clinics near Lehi and Saratoga Springs, Utah.