10 Solutions for an ACL Injury
Best known as the ACL, the anterior cruciate ligament is located in the knee. It is one of two very significant ligaments that run crossways and support the joint. ACL injuries are extremely common in sports activities and they are rarely associated with contact in any way. Instead, most injuries come from a deceleration or pivot during activity. These injuries can vary in severity from a simple sprain to a complete tear.
If you believe that you have an ACL injury, it’s important to visit an orthopedic surgeon as soon as possible. There are a couple of different diagnosis methods including an MRI and something called a Lachman exam. After the injury has been determined, your specialist will discuss with you different treatment options depending on the extent of the injury. Ten solutions available include the following.
Your specialist may suggest therapies if your injury is fairly minor. A sprained ACL will heal on its own in time, but you have to follow specific suggestions to ensure it is able to heal. Some of the therapy options may include:
- (1) Crutches
- (2) A Knee Brace
- (3) Range of Motion Exercises at Home
- (4) Muscle Strengthening Exercises at Home
- (5) Physical Therapy
Generally, these options are only used in minor injuries. If your ACL has been torn, then you will likely need to undergo surgery since it cannot heal on its own.
- (6) Tendon Graft
- (7) Tendon Graft from Deceased Donor
The surgical procedure to repair an ACL injury involves a very small incision and a fiber-optic scope. The surgeon will use this scope to see into the knee. They will then clear away any debris or extremely damaged tissue. Then, the graft will be placed with the scope.
After the surgery, you will have to undergo physical therapy while your knee is healing. This way, you will be able to recover range of motion and your knee should recover quite well from the procedure.
If you do not have surgical treatment for your ACL injury and the damage is fairly minor, then you may be able to perform some at home care treatment options to allow your knee to heal. However, you will likely need to avoid any sporting activities in the future since the ACL may not have healed properly. At home solutions include:
- (8) Ice
- (9) Compression
You can ice your knee for 20 minutes at a time every two hours. This will help reduce inflammation and swelling. Compression will help to support the knee while the ACL heals. You can purchase either an elastic bandage (ACE) or a compression wrap. Be sure you don’t wrap it so tight that you cut off circulation. Elevation will help to reduce swelling in the knee. When you are lying or sitting, prop your knee slightly bent on several pillows so that it is higher than your heart.
In severe ACL injury cases, you will need to consider the surgical option. Otherwise, your knee may never heal properly and you may continue to have trouble with it for the rest of your life. In fact, untreated ACL injuries often result in meniscus tears in the future. This could mean further pain and discomfort.
If your specialist does not recommend surgery, however, because your injury is minor, then you need to follow other solution and treatment options. These may include therapies either at home or at a physical therapist’s office or at-home treatment with ice, compression, and elevation. Remember that you will need to avoid any physical activity until your knee has healed completely so that you don’t damage it further.
Surgeon’s Advice | Leon Mead MD Orthopedic Doctor | 730 Goodlette Road North, Suite 201 Naples Florida 34102 | Phone: (239) 262-1119