Although having an active lifestyle is one of the best decisions you can make to improve your life, it still has a few bad things that come with it. For one, playing sports such as basketball, soccer, football, or skiing, can lead to an ACL injury.
The ACL is one of the ligaments that hold the knee together. It connects the lateral femoral condyle to the tibia in front of the anterior tibial spine. When all is in good shape, the ACL helps stabilize the knee during various movements such as bending, straightening, and rotating.
How do ACL injuries occur and how do you know if you have one
Usually, an ACL tear occurs when you are playing sports. You should be careful, especially in sports that a lot of stop-and-go movements and jumping. It can also occur if you miss a step on a ladder, basically, you should watch out for any other action that puts heavy immediate pressure on your knees.
A couple of hours after playing sports, if you notice a bit of swelling around your knees, it may be because of an ACL injury. If you try to walk and your knees feel like they can’t take your weight and gives away on their own, you might have to schedule a doctor’s appointment ASAP.
What you should do right after the injury
First aid treatments include applying ice on the swollen knee. You also have rest the knee for a long while. Get crutches so you don’t put unnecessary pressure on the knee when you walk. You can also wrap the knee with an elastic bandage and elevate your knee when you are sitting down. If the pain gets too much, take pain medicine and anti-inflammatory drugs such as acetaminophen.
What treatment options are available to you
The ACL injury may heal on its own. A lot of factors can come into play, such as gender, age, the severity of the injury, whether other parts of your knee are also affected by the injury, and your willingness to go through an entire physical rehabilitation program. In minor cases, the injury would not need any surgical treatments. Rehabilitation programs usually include flexibility, strengthening, and endurance exercises.
Surgery for ACL involves repairing or reconstructing the injured ligament. An ACL reconstruction surgery uses a graft to either replace or repair the ligament. These grafts could be from your own body, called autografts, which could be from your patellar tendon or hamstring tendon. It could also be from a deceased donor, called an allograft. Surgery is mostly recommended on cases wherein other parts of the knee were also injured and could also be repaired through the surgery.
As always, prevention is better than cure. As much as possible, you have to be mindful of your movements during competitive sports. Your performance does not only require you to hone your skills, it is also equally important that you take care of yourself.