28 Jan ACL Sprains and Tears
Basketball and tennis are high impact exercises which means that they puts a lot of stress on the joints particularly the ankles, hips, and knees. During the basketball and tennis seasons we tend to see an increase in the number of joint related injuries especially in the knee.
The most common knee injury is a sprain or tear of the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). The ACL is a tough band of tissue that joins the thigh and shin bone together. It runs diagonally along the inside of the knee giving it stability.
The ACL can be inured when the knee is bent backward, twisted, or bent from side to side. It can also occur when the foot is placed firmly on the ground and a sudden force (like a ball, another player or even your own body weight) hits your knee while your leg is straight or slightly bent.
You may have an ACL sprain or tear if:
- you feel or hear a loud pop in the knee at the time of injury.
- you have pain at the back of the knee.
- your knee swells within the first few hours after the injury. Swelling may be a sign of bleeding inside the joint.
- you have limited knee movement because of either swelling, pain, or both.
- your knee is unstable. It buckles and gives out.
If you suspect you have a sprained or torn ACL, you need to start first aid immediately. Follow the RICE method as follows and you may also want to take some over the counter pain medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to manage the pain.
Rest. You need to get off of your knee. If you need to walk on crutches until you can see a doctor, that’s okay.
Ice. Apply an ice pack for 10 to 20 minutes every hour or two for at least the first 24 to 72 hours or until the swelling goes down, Be sure you always keep a thin layer of cloth between your skin and the ice pack.
Compression. Wearing an ACE bandage for the first 24 to 36 hours after can help reduce the swelling.
Elevation. To help reduce the swelling and bruising, raise your knee above the level of your heart for 2 to 3 hours a day if possible.
An ACL injury is no joke! Only a doctor can tell you if you have an ACL tear or sprain. You may need to have X-rays or an MRI to determine the severity of the injury. Depending on the severity of the sprain or tear you may need surgery. Of course not all injuries to the ACL require surgery. If you can stand on your knee and it is stable, it may be treated with rehabilitation and bracing.
Proper treatment and rehabilitation exercises are important when treating ACL tears and sprains especially after surgery. If not treated, it may lead to an ACL deficiency which will lead to more knee problems in the future. If you’ve experienced a knee injury recently or in the past, call us today to set up an appointment. We can show you ways to strengthen your knees and protect yourself from future injuries.