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ACL Tears – Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

ACL TearsOne of the four major knee ligaments, the ACL or anterior cruciate ligament is critical to knee stability. A tear in the ACL ligament can be painful and immobilize you. If you have symptoms such as tenderness, pain, swelling or feel a sudden “pop” in your knee, call Comprehensive Healthcare Group (CHG). Our Orthopedic team will diagnose your injury and design a structured program tailored to individual needs. Comprehensive Healthcare Group has two Long Island centers located in Oceanside and Valley Stream, NY.

How an ACL Tear Occurs

An ACL tear injury is quite common among athletes and can result from a direct blow or strain. Most sports-related ACL tears are found to be “non-contact” injuries, or the injury occurs without the contact of another athlete. Landing incorrectly from a jump, sudden slowing down for changing direction, and suddenly stopping are also factors that can cause such an injury. People involved in physically active jobs can also experience this.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

  • You may feel a “pop” in your knee and also that your knee is “giving out” from under you.
  • Knee pain.
  • Tenderness along the joint line.
  • You’ll also have knee swelling which occurs within 24 hours of your injury and pain.
  • Sometimes the pain may resolve by itself. However, when you begin walking or returning to any physical activity, you’ll feel instability in your knee which may cause more damage to your knee’s cushioning cartilage.

Accurate diagnosis is essential to identify the condition. Once you’ve begun experiencing instability or pain, you must immediately consult an orthopedist. Digital X-rays and advanced diagnostic modalities can help in accurate diagnosis of the ligament tear.

Sports medicine deals with conditions such as these. Treatment is provided with the idea of enabling patients to return to their active lifestyle as soon as possible. The professionals in a sports medicine team typically include an orthopedic surgeon, a physician, a rehabilitation specialist, physical therapist and, if you are an athlete, an athletic trainer as well.

Treatment Options and Rehabilitation

  • You have nonsurgical options for getting your ACL tear treated. These include:
  • Bracing: Your doctor may advise you to wear a brace to protect your knee from instability. You may be asked to walk around in crutches to ensure you don’t put too much weight on the affected leg.
  • Physical Therapy: As the swelling decreases, physical therapy is usually provided which is the primary element of a rehabilitation program. The physical therapist will prescribe specific exercises for restoring knee function and overall strengthening of the leg muscles.
  • Taping: After injury to the anterior cruciate ligament, taping may be needed to support the knee. Taping may be helpful to protect the area while it is recovering.
  • In more severe cases, surgery may be required for reconstructing the ACL with a tissue graft. This is done when the knee has become really unstable.

Rehabilitation is important whether or not your treatment program involves surgery. Even after surgery, physical therapy followed by a strengthening program plays an important role in your rehabilitation. It helps you get back to your normal life by enabling your knee to regain strength and motion.

If you’re an athlete, physical therapy and rehabilitation would focus on the sport you’re involved in and help you get back to full performance.

At Comprehensive Healthcare Group (CHG), we offer customized ACL tear treatment options in our two Long Island centers located in Oceanside and Valley Stream, NY which will help you get back to the life you love.