If you're a sports fan, you've probably heard of ACL injuries but do you know how they are treated? In a nutshell, an ACL injury is a tear in the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), which is a ligament inside the knee that connects your upper leg and lower leg. It helps keep the knee stable. ACL injuries can range from minor injuries to complete tears, which can cause severe pain and immobility.
What causes ACL injuries?
ACL injuries are common in contact sports, especially football and soccer. If your foot is planted on the ground and something causes your knee to bend backward, twist, or move from side to side, your ACL could tear. Jumping and other sudden movements can also damage the ACL. Therefore, skiers and runners are at risk for ACL tears too. An ACL tear can affect any athlete. In fact, the NASCAR title favorite Denny Hamlin tore his ACL playing baseball, as reported by the Associated Press on January 26, 2010.
Individuals who do not engage in contact sports could also suffer from an ACL injury as a result of falling off a ladder or twisting their knee while climbing stairs. As with the rest of our bodies, the ACL gets weaker and more prone to injury with age, making individuals over 40 at a greater risk for injury.
How will I know if I have an ACL injury?
Typically, the first sign of an ACL injury is moderate to severe knee pain, but there are other symptoms as well: