Your knees are a vital part of getting through each day, or enjoying exercise or sports. So when you injure your knee, it makes it hard to do your day-to-day tasks. And forget about the game — you’ll likely be out for weeks, especially with an ACL injury. But is there any other way to treat an ACL problem other than surgery?
Our team at Alpha Orthopedics and Sports Medicine are here to help you when you’ve suffered an injury to your musculoskeletal system. If you’ve injured your ACL, our team of highly specialized orthopedic surgeons helps you determine the correct route of treatment so you can get back to your busy life.
What is your ACL?
Your knee is made up of bones, ligaments, and tendons that allow you to move it and perform activities like walking and jumping. Your shinbone, thighbone, and kneecap all come together to make up your knee joint.
But your bones need tendons and ligaments to keep your joint stable as well. This is where your anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, comes in. This ligament goes through the center of your knee, and works with your posterior cruciate ligament to help you move your knee back and forth. They also help provide stability to your knee joint as well.
Your ACL is prone to injury when you play sports, as you use your knees a lot for sports like basketball, soccer, and football. Sports also require you to make certain movements, which is how your ACL usually becomes injured. Movements that often lead to an ACL tear include:
- Suddenly stopping
- Jumping and landing wrong
- A direct collision
- Quickly changing direction
You can also significantly injure your ACL by slowing down quickly from running. All of these movements put a lot of pressure and strain on your ACL, which can lead to sprains or tears of the ligament.
Signs of an ACL injury
When you injure your ACL, you may have a number of different symptoms. You may not have the same symptoms as someone else who has also injured their ACL, because everyone’s body reacts differently.
Your symptoms also depend on the severity of your injury. You’ll likely have much more uncomfortable symptoms if you have a severe ACL injury, compared with those of a more minor sprain or strain. Some of the symptoms that you may experience include:
- Severe swelling
- Decreased range of motion
- Intense pain
- A loud pop in your knee
- Instability in your knee
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s likely that you’ve suffered a type of ACL tear. There are both minor tears and severe tears, each of which requires a different type of treatment for the ligament to heal.
Do you need treatment?
Contrary to what you may believe, not all ACL injuries require surgery. The type of treatment is determined by your specific injury and your overall activity level.
However, it’s important to remember that your ACL tear won’t be able to heal on its own, because there’s not a blood supply to support healing. If you only have a partial tear or aren’t very active in your daily life, you may be able to use conservative treatments to help with your symptoms. These treatments may include:
- Physical therapy
- Regenerative medicine
But if you’re an active person or play sports, you’ll likely need surgery to repair your ACL. This type of surgery is usually done with an arthroscopy, which is a minimally invasive type of surgery. It allows our surgeons to fix your ACL with a few tiny incisions using a device known as an arthroscope.
Once you have your ACL repaired with surgery, you’ll undergo a few months of physical therapy while you heal. This will allow you to regain your range of motion and strength before returning to your normal activities.
If you’ve injured your ACL, don’t hesitate to call our team at Alpha Orthopedics and Sports Medicine at one of our three locations in Texas to schedule an appointment. You can also book a consultation today with us online too.