ACL Injury Rehab

Did you know that ACL injuries are one of the most frequent knee injuries? An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sprain or tear is very common among active individuals. Knowing what your knee injury is and following through with your treatments can help you move forward from the restraints of your injury. Read more to learn about what to look out for in an ACL injury and the treatments for the injury.

What is an ACL Injury?

An anterior cruciate ligament injury occurs when the knee takes a strong amount of trauma causing the anterior cruciate ligament to stretch or tear. This injury can cause extreme discomfort and can affect your range of motion. Anterior cruciate ligament injuries require immediate medical attention and half of ACL injuries involve injury to the surrounding articular cartilage, meniscus, and other knee ligaments. Other knee ligaments that may experience damage during a knee injury include the medial collateral ligament, lateral collateral ligament, and posterior cruciate ligament.

ACL Injury Levels

Injured ligaments are considered a form of sprain and are graded between levels 1-3 depending on their severity. It is important to note that partial tears are very rare, and most ACL injuries involve complete tears.

Grade 1 Sprain

The anterior cruciate ligament is mildly damaged in a grade 1 sprain. This involves a mild stretch of the ligament; however, the ligament can still serve its function of keeping the knee joint stable.

Grade 2 Sprain

Grade 2 sprains occur when the ligament stretches into a point of looseness. This is commonly referred to as a partial ACL tear. 

Grade 3 Sprain

A grade 3 sprain occurs when there is a complete tear of the ACL. The anterior cruciate ligament has been torn in two or has been pulled away from the bone, causing an unstable knee joint. A fully torn ACL is the most extensive form of ACL injury.

What Does ACL Injury Mean?

Having an ACL injury means that your anterior cruciate ligament has stretched or torn, potentially affecting the stability of the knee joint. This means that you have experienced a significant amount of trauma to the knee, and possibly the surrounding area.

ACL Injury Symptoms

·       Intense pain

·       Visible swelling within 24 hours

·       Decrease in range of motion

·       Discomfort moving the knee and/or walking

·       Feelings of tenderness at the joint line

ACL Injury Causes

ACL tears often involve a sudden injury causing an immediate anterior cruciate ligament rupture. Causes of ACL injury include but are not limited to: 

·       Changing direction too quickly

·       Suddenly stopping

·       Landing after jumping incorrectly

·       Decreasing pace while running

·       Sudden collisions or direct contact to the knee

·       Weakened muscles in the affected leg

ACL Injury Diagnosis

After injuring your ACL, it is important to immediately receive medical care. Diagnosis can be completed through a full physical examination from a doctor and can involve X-rays or MRI scans. A skilled doctor will recommend an ACL rehabilitation program as a part of your treatment plan for your injury. Your treatment for your ACL injury will depend on the extent of your injury and lifestyle. Patients may require surgery for anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction or physical therapy to aid in anterior cruciate ligament rehabilitation.

ACL Injury Treatment

Your doctor will immediately advise you to minimize physical activity and rest the injured knee. Once swelling and pain have diminished a fair amount, your doctor will prescribe physical therapy to help you restore the area’s range of motion and strengthen any weakened muscles. Physical therapy and exercise can help prevent a repeat injury from happening by strengthening the injured leg. In severe cases, mainly complete tears, where rest and physical therapy do not help, ACL surgery can be performed. 

Why to Choose Physical Therapy 

Physical therapy can help restore the knee’s range of motion and strengthen any weakened muscles. In some cases, the likelihood of further injury can be prevented by increasing the strength in the legs and knee area. ACL rehabilitation can decrease the chances of a repeat injury happening in the same area. 

Contact Us

If you are struggling with an ACL injury, contact us today to schedule an appointment at Resilient Performance Physical Therapy in Manhattan NYC, Chatham & Wharton New Jersey, and Darien Connecticut. Join us today to begin your journey on the path to recovery and healing.

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