ACL Injury: Types, Cause, Symptom & Prevention

The ACL is a vital ligament in the knee that helps to stabilize the joint. It locates in the center of the knee, connecting the thigh bone (femur) to the shin bone (tibia). Maintaining knee stability and avoiding excessive motion is crucial. 

ACL Injury

An ACL injury is a common knee injury. A specific ligament in the knee supports, strains, or tears the joint. These kinds of pain occur from sudden twisting or rating motion. It can also occur from a direct blow to the knee.

Classification of ACL Injuries

There are generally two types of ACL Injuries: 

  • Acute ACL Injury
  • Chronic ACL Injury

Acute ACL Injury

A sudden traumatic action causes acute ACL injuries. Such as twisting or pivoting motion while participating in sports. These injuries distinguish by an abrupt onset of knee pain and instability. It can classify into three grades:

  • Grade 1: mild sprains involve stretching but not tearing of the ligament.
  • Grade 2: A partial tear of the ligament
  • Grade 3: A complete tear of the ligament

Chronic ACL injuries 

Appear as a result of recurrent trauma or aging ligaments. These injuries are not connected to a particularly traumatic event. Knee edema, instability, and discomfort are its symptoms.

The Alarming Condition of ACL injuries

The warning bell[1][2] of an ACL injury can vary depending on the severity of the injury. But some common signs and symptoms include 

  • Pain: Pain in the knee can be severe or moderate, with the popping or snapping sound at the time of the injury accompanied by It.
  • Swelling: Swelling in the knee may occur within hours of the injury and can make the knee stiff and difficult to bend.
  • Instability: A feeling of the knee giving out or buckling may occur when the knee is bearing weight.
  • Loss of range of motion: Difficulty moving the knee, such as difficulty straightening or bending the knee.
  • Locking or catching sensation: Feeling that the knee is “locking” or “catching” when trying to move it.
  • Bruising: Bruising around the knee may occur in the days following the injury.
  • Tenderness: Pain or discomfort when touching or pressing on the knee.

It’s important to note that some people may not have symptoms other than mild pain and swelling. But others may have more severe symptoms. If you suspect an ACL injury, you must see a doctor as soon as possible to determine the injury’s extent. You get the proper treatment.

What is the reason behind ACL Injuries?

ACL Injury: Types, Cause, Symptom & Prevention

Various factors are responsible for ACL Injury-

Traumatic events: Sudden movements can cause injury to the ACL. By doing it, you can put stretch and also can tear the ACL. For example, change in direction while running or landing from a jump.

Non-contact events: These can occur when there is no contact with another player. Such as when players are planting, cutting, pivoting, or landing from a jump.

Repetitive stress: Repetitive knee stress, such as running, jumping, or playing sports, can cause an ACL injury.

Weak muscles: Weakness in the quadriceps and hamstring muscles can increase the risk of ACL injury.

Improper technique: Improper technique during physical activity, such as landing from a jump or cutting. It can also increase the risk of an ACL injury.

Wearing improper shoes: She is wearing shoes that do not provide perfect support. Cushioning can increase the risk of injury.

Playing on uneven surfaces: Playing or exercising on uneven surfaces can increase the risk of injury.

Overuse and overtraining: Overuse and overtraining can lead to fatigue and increase the risk of injury.

Previous ACL injury: If you have had an ACL injury, you are at a higher risk for re-injury.

It may be more common in people who have before suffered from them. Engage in high-risk sports or activities like basketball, football, or soccer.

Prevention Technique for ACL injury

Several steps can take to prevent ACL injuries[3][4]. These include

  • It provides strengthens the muscles that support the knee. Particularly the quadriceps and hamstrings.
  • It improves flexibility and balance, particularly in the legs and hips.
  • Exercises that enhance proprioception 
  • The awareness of one’s body’s position in space.
  • neuromuscular control
  • Using proper technique during the jumping and landing
  • Wearing appropriate equipment and using a suitable surface for the activity
  • Incorporating warm-up and cool-down routines before and after physical activity.

It’s also essential to consult with a physical therapist or sports medicine specialist. They design a prevention program. It tailors to your individual needs and goals.

Home Treatment for an ACL injury

ACL Injury: Types, Cause, Symptom & Prevention

Below there are many steps to follow as a home remedy for ACL Injury

Rest the knee as much as possible to allow it to heal. Avoid activities that stress the knee, such as running or jumping.

Apply ice to the knee to reduce pain and swelling. Bent a bag of ice or frozen vegetables in a towel and placed it on the knee for 20-30 minutes, several times a day.

Compress the knee with a brace or bandage to help reduce swelling.

Elevate the knee by propping it on a pillow when sitting or lying down.

Do gentle range-of-motion exercises to keep the knee mobile. This can help to prevent stiffness and muscle weakness.

Physical therapy and exercises strengthen the muscles around the knee. A sports medicine doctor also improves the range of motion, strength, and stability.

It is essential to note that home remedies can help with the symptoms of an ACL injury. Still, surgery usually needs a complete tear of the ACL, and the recovery process may take 6-9 months. Consult with a doctor or physiotherapist for a personalized treatment plan.

When you need to visit a doctor for an ACL injury

ACL Injury: Types, Cause, Symptom & Prevention

If you suspect that you have an ACL injury, it’s essential to see a doctor as soon as possible. The longer you wait to seek treatment. That more likely the injury will worsen and lead to more complications.

Symptoms of an ACL injury include:

  • A popping or snapping sound at the time of injury
  • Pain and swelling in the knee
  • Difficulty bearing weight on the affected leg
  • Unstable or a feeling of the knee giving out
  • Bruising and stiffness[5][6]

If any of these symptoms, you should visit a doctor as soon as possible. A doctor will perform a physical examination. It may order imaging tests, such as an MRI, to confirm the diagnosis. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to cut the damage to the knee. It improves your chances of a successful recovery.

Reference

1. Management of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury: What’s In and Out?

Benjamin Todd Raines, Emily Naclerio, and Seth L Sherman

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5609378/

2. Anterior Cruciate Ligament Knee Injuries

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499848/

4. Mechanisms, Prediction, and Prevention of ACL Injuries: Cut Risk With Three Sharpened and Validated Tools

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5505503/

5. Treatment After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury: Panther Symposium ACL Treatment Consensus Group

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2325967120931097

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