ACL injuries, or anterior cruciate ligament injuries, are among the most common sports injuries. The anterior curate ligament is one of the four main ligaments in the knee. When we damage this ligament, it’s usually due to a sudden twist of the knee or a hard impact.
ACL injuries are most common in contact sports such as football and rugby, so players of these sports should be taking extra precautions to prevent injury.
Symptoms of an ACL Injury
An ACL injury typically starts with severe and immediate pain. You may even hear a popping sound if the ligament ruptures. The knee will swell and no longer be able to hold your weight. There’s a good chance that you’ll need help off of the field if you’re in the middle or a game or training.
The “RICE” (rest, ice, compression, elevate) procedure should be followed right away if an ACL injury is suspected. This both stimulates healing and is prevention against further injury. The knee needs to be rested and an ice pack should be applied to it to control the swelling. It should then be compressed, which should control swelling, and then elevated, ideally above the heart. Once you have tended to the injury, seek out professional medical help.
Treatment for ACL Injuries
If the ACL injury is minor, it can be healed with rest and proper rehabilitation. You may need to use crutches until the swelling and pain in the knee are gone and you can walk without a limp. However, if the ligament is torn all the way through, surgery may be necessary along with such modalities as Kinesio taping and functional rehabilitation exercises to strengthen your knee and restore its range of motion. Kinesio taping not only helps reduce the swelling and knee pain, but protects the knee as it heals, supports the circulation of blood in the knee and allows for faster healing without restricting the knee’s range of motion.
Kinesio tape is applied according to your specific needs. The tape may be placed in different configurations. Your knee may be wrapped in straight bands or the bands may be wrapped as an X, Y or other shape. It may also have different amounts of stretch depending on how severe your injury is.
Getting an ACL injury in the middle or training or a game may be scary, but with the proper care you should make a complete recovery. For more information on ACL injury prevention or ACL recovery, please call us at (509) 922-1909.