An ACL injury is a sprain or tear of the anterior cruciate ligament or ACL, which is one of the major ligaments in the knee. ACL tears or injuries most commonly occur while playing sports that involve jumping, sudden stops, or changes in direction and landing like basketball, football, and soccer.
The patient may hear or feel a pop sensation in the knee joint when an ACL tear or injury occurs and the knee may swell, feel unstable, or become very painful and unable to bear weight.
Depending on the severity of the ACL injury, treatment may include rest and physiotherapy to help regain strength and stability or reconstruction surgery to replace the torn ligament followed by physiotherapy.
When to see an orthopedic doctor for your ACL injury?
Get immediate care if any injury to the knee and causes signs or symptoms of an ACL injury. Consult an orthopedic surgeon to the soonest if you suspect you have an ACL injury. Our knee joint is a complex structure of bones, tendons, ligaments, and other tissues that work together. So, it is important to consult a skilled orthopedic doctor and get an accurate diagnosis, and to determine the severity of the injury. The doctor can tell the Grade of the ACL injury only after a proper diagnosis. Treatment for your ACL injury can be decided depending on the Grade of ACL injury. Consult experienced orthopedic surgeons at Pristyn Care who specialize in performing less-invasive orthopedic surgeries such as minimally invasive knee replacement, minimally invasive knee replacement, ACL reconstruction surgery, carpal tunnel release surgery.
During the physical exam, the orthopedic doctor will check the patient’s knee for swelling and tenderness, comparing the injured knee to the other uninjured knee. The orthopedic doctor may also move the patient’s knee into different positions to check the range of motion and overall functioning of the injured joint.
The diagnosis can be sometimes made on the basis of the physical exam alone. But in most cases, the orthopedic doctor asks the patient to undergo certain imaging tests to determine the severity of the injury. These imaging tests may include:
- X-rays- The doctor may suggest X-rays to rule out a bone fracture. However, X-rays do not show soft tissues, including ligaments and tendons.
- MRI- An MRI scan uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to create images of both the hard and soft tissues in the body. An MRI allows the doctor to see the extent of the ACL injury and any signs of damage to other tissues in the knee.
- Ultrasound- Ultrasound may be suggested to check for injuries in the tendons, ligaments, and muscles of the knee.
What is the non-surgical treatment for ACL injuries?
The doctor may suggest the patient take rest and follow some lifestyle changes if the condition is treatable without surgery. Patients with low-grade ACL injuries are suggested to follow the R.I.C.E. model for self-care at home-
- Rest- Take rest and allow your knee to heal. Also, avoid lifting heavy weights and limit weight bearing on the knee.
- Ice- Use an ice pack on your knee at least every 2 hours for 20 minutes at a time. This will help reduce swelling and pain.
- Compression- Wrap a compression wrap or an elastic bandage around your knee and give it ample rest.
- Elevation. Lie down and elevate your knee. Keep some pillows under your knee and try to keep your elevated as much as you can.
Most successful treatment for ACL injuries
Knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that can diagnose and treat problems and injuries in the knee joint. During the arthroscopic procedure, the orthopedic surgeon will make a very small incision (of about 3-4 inches)and an arthroscope into the knee through the incision. This allows the surgeon to view the inside of the joint and investigate a problem with the knee and. The surgeon then inserts small surgical instruments through the arthroscopy to perform the ACL reconstruction surgery.
There are very few risks involved with this procedure and the outlook is excellent for most patients. The patient can start walking from the next day of the surgery. Consult expert orthopedic surgeons who specialize in orthopedic surgeries at Pristine Care and get relief from the constant, troubling knee pain and other symptoms of an ACL injury.