“The Anterior Cruciate Ligament – Stabilizing and Recovering from a Torn ACL”

A torn ACL sounds like a mystery unless you’ve ever had one.  Described by those unfortunate to be stricken by one as a loud popping sound followed by an intense and sharp pain in the knee,  a torn ACL usually happens in an abrupt movement or sport, like shifting directions, weaving around guards while moving a basketball down court. Shortly after tearing an ACL the knee joint will begin to swell, making it very difficult to straighten the leg or even walk.   ACL tears happen more frequently than you think. If you feel you may have injured your ACL take heart, you will heal, but not without some help.   Read on.

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament is actually one of the most important ligaments to the human body.  Found behind the knee cap, extending through the middle of the knee joint between the shinbone and the thigh bone, this vital ligament prevents your thighbone from sliding backwards onto your tibia and also stabilizes the knee, preventing it from rotating.

ACL injuries are very common in athletes, but aren’t restricted to them. People that would describe themselves as simply very active can also experience an ACL tear. High impact movement or contact sports such as hockey, football, soccer, and asketball are where many ACL injuries happen.  Sports like these involving abrupt stopping and starting, or frequent jumping are just the kind of thing that can put enough momentum and pressure on the knee joint which causes the ACL to tear.

A torn ACL is considered an acute injury.  If you’ve ever had one you’ll agree! Tears to the Anterior Cruciate Ligament happen most often during rapid, sudden movement. So it makes sense that the injury itself also happens suddenly.

If you are at all suspicious that you may have a torn ACL, do not put any weight on that leg and certainly do not continue the physical activity that you were involved in when the injury occurred.

When you suffer from a torn ACL, the pain is considerable if not extreme.  To immediately reduce the knee from swelling, and slightly manage the pain, elevate and ice the area.  Immediate rest is the most important step you can take towards healing. Rest will not only help you heal more quickly but also help you to ensure that you prevent further injury both before and after treatment something you will wholeheartedly want to avoid!

ACL injuries are equal-opportunists they are not age specific.  People young and old can – without warning – end up with a torn ACL, though teens and young adults remain the demographic most frequently injured by them.

Where your age plays a major role in ACL injury is in the treatment and recovery.  Most ACL injuries require surgery, and a knee that’s still growing is treated differently than one that isn’t, which in turn dictates the type of ACL surgery performed. Custom knee bracing and ongoing physical therapy will also be a part of the full recovery of a torn ACL.

Once your ACL surgery has been performed, the knee needs stability and rest. Be patient. We can’t overemphasize how key to recovery patience through rest is. Recovery from this kind of physical injury, and surgery required to mend it, takes time. Trying to rush the healing process will not work, so commit early on to giving your ACL an ample period to recover without aggravation.

Rehabilitation rehab from a torn ACL involves medically supervised physical therapy, several times a week.  Your physical therapist will guide you through important exercises that you can do at home. Athletes often speed up their ACL-tear recovery time through an accelerated program that involves more frequent therapy. Rehab also reduces pain, controls swelling and restores the knee’s full range of motion, balance and overall strength. If you play your cards right you will, one day, feel like new….

If you would like more information about recovering from an ACL injury please call 416-800-0800 or visit www.aesmphysiotherapytoronto.ca  today.