Knee : ACL Injury

Anterior Cruciate Ligament

If you play basketball, soccer, football, or tennis you may be more likely to develop an injury to your knee due to sudden twisting motions that are common in those sports. Building strength and performing with proper technique can help you bend, jump, and turn while minimizing your risk of this type of injury.

Anatomy
The ACL is one of the major ligaments in the middle of the knee. It connects the thigh bone, or the femur, to the shin bone, also known as the tibia. This ligament, along with the posterior cruciate ligament, helps keep the knee stable.

How does an ACL Injury occur?
Typically, patients strain or sprain their ACL during forced twisting or swiveling motions of the knee. It may also become injured from hyperextension, or when the knee is straightened further than its natural range of motion.

Symptoms

  • You may hear a loud pop, followed by deep knee pain, at the time the joint is first injured
  • Feeling of knee instability
  • In the first few hours after your injury, your knee may swell up
  • You may find it difficult to bend or straighten your knee.
  • You may have the feeling that the knee is “giving way” during twisting or pivoting movements

Treatments for ACL Injuries:

  • Apply ice to the painful area.
  • Keep your knee elevated whenever possible. Place a pillow underneath it for comfort until the swelling goes away.
  • Your sports medicine physician may recommend that you take an anti-inflammatory or additional pain medication.
  • Gentle range of motion exercises to maintain range of motion in the knee may be recommended by your healthcare provider.
  • Your healthcare provider may decide that surgical reconstruction of the ACL is necessary and will discuss this as well as other treatment options with you.

For complete ACL tears:
Your healthcare provider will decide if you should have intense rehabilitation or if you should have surgery followed by rehabilitation.

To make an appointment at any of our UHealth Sports Medicine locations, please call 305-243-3000 or use our online appointment request form.