No matter what sport you’re involved in, any injury can immediately sideline you for the season. An ACL injury can put you on the sidelines, so knowing what to look for and how to prevent it can really be beneficial to you and your lifestyle.
If you find yourself with an ACL injury, the board-certified surgeons at Alpha Orthopedics in McKinney, Prosper, and Sherman, Texas can help you find a treatment plan that is right for you. With time and determination, you can be back on your game.
Mechanisms for an ACL injury
The ACL, which is also known as your anterior cruciate ligament, is one of the major ligaments in your knee. This ligament attaches from the knee joint to the femur and the tibia to help stabilize the knee. Injuries to the ACL can either be sprains or tears and can vary in severity.
This type of injury is very common among athletes. If you play certain sports, such as soccer, basketball, or football, you’re at an increased risk for injury. You may also enjoy downhill skiing, which also puts you at a higher risk of injury.
But just because you enjoy these sports doesn’t mean you will fall victim to an ACL injury. There are other risk factors, such as conditioning, being female, and improperly fitting footwear that can increase the probability of an injury.
There are also certain movements in your leg that can cause you to put a strain on your ACL. These movements include:
- Stopping suddenly
- Changing directions quickly
- Jumping, and pivoting motions
Many of these movements are essential to the sport you may be playing, and knowing how to properly execute these movements can help decrease the chances you will end up injuring your knee.
Symptoms to watch out for
If you end up with an ACL injury, you’ll most likely know something is wrong right away. Because this ligament plays a large role in stabilizing your knee, any kind of injury to it may cause several symptoms, including:
- Instability of the injured knee joint
- Limited movement
- Sudden swelling in the knee
- Trouble putting any weight on the injured knee
- Numbness with severe tears
One of the most noticeable and common symptoms you may experience with an ACL injury is a popping sensation in your knee. You may even be able to hear the pop of the ligament when it tears.
Pain is another symptom you can expect if you injure your ACL. The amount of pain varies depending on how severe the injury is. Most of the pain you’ll experience is from the rapid swelling of the tissues surrounding the knee joint.
Any of these symptoms can be indicative of an ACL injury. If you suspect you’ve injured your knee, you should stop playing and get it examined as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the knee.
Prevention is key
Knowing how to prevent ACL injuries can help you improve your game and lessen your potential for injury. Some of the things you can do to help decrease your risk for injury include:
- Properly training for your sport
- Exercising regularly to keep your muscles in shape
- Strengthen leg muscles, especially your hamstring
- Strengthening your core, hip, and pelvis muscles
- Using proper technique when jumping or pivoting
- Making sure your footwear fits properly
Playing sports on artificial turf is another risk factor for a knee injury. However, by knowing this and practicing proper conditioning and technique, you are giving yourself the best chance at preventing an ACL injury.
If you think you have an ACL injury, call Alpha Orthopedics at one of our three convenient locations in Texas, or make an appointment online to get your recovery started today.