There are many ways to tear your ACL, whether it is with contact or no contact. There are also minimal symptoms for an ACL tear but they are very important to look for when an athlete is complaining about knee pain. The treatments for this injury also depend on the severity of the tear. The severity could determine if surgery is needed.
These are all important things to know when you are in a situation with a person that has torn their ACL. Tearing your ACL can come at the snap of a finger, and that is what makes it scary for many athletes. According to CNN girls are eight times more likely to tear their anterior cruciate ligament then boys. This is due to the anatomy and the differences in muscle movement. Because of the way the woman is built to give child birth our hips are wider than our legs. This causes our legs to go downward in a v shape and put added pressure on our knees. On the other hand, with men their hips go straight down to their knees.
There are many ways that an athlete can tear their ACL. They can injure themselves by quick stop and go movements; any aggressive knee twisting, and also having sudden changes in direction can also cause a tear. With personal experience in tearing both my left and right ACL’s I had a sudden change in direction. When an athlete goes down they may complain about having a considerable amount of pain in their injured leg. When an athlete goes down with a knee injury the first thing that they are going to notice is if it popped at the time they went down or not.
After they are taken to a better place for a professional to exam them whether it be an athletic trainer or your personal physician you may notice considerable swelling and inflammation. Their knee may also give out on them when they try to walk (about. com). If the physician suspects that the athlete has in fact torn their ACL they will more than likely order you to go get an MRI so they can have pictures of the ligaments of the knee. An MRI is a magnetic response imaging machine and is able to take pictures of the ligaments surrounding the knee to confirm the suspicions of the physician.
If indeed the ACL is torn then the physician will then refer the athlete to an orthopedic surgeon to determine if the athlete is going to need surgery. The signs that the surgeon is going to look for are knee stability and certain tasks that require the use of the anterior cruciate ligament. If the athlete looks like they have a enough stability then they will just be able to rehabilitate it back to full strength and also it may indicate that the ligament is not fully torn. Unfortunately, if they do not show these signs then the surgeon is going to let them know that surgery is going to be the best option.
But there are things that they are going to want the athlete to do before they are ready for surgery. The surgeon is going to want them to reduce the swelling, get their range of motion back, and be able to walk normally, if they do these it helps when it comes to start the rehabilitation process after the surgery. There are two different kinds of surgery that they are able to perform. For an ACL reconstruction the most common surgeons use either the patella graft or the hamstring graft. The patella graft uses the middle third of the person’s own patella tendon and is referred to as a bone-tendon-bone or BTB graft.
The surgeon will make two small incisions for the arthroscopic tools are placed on either side of the tendon. Then a two inch cut is made over the patellar tendon on the front of the knee, the middle of the tendon is carefully removed; next, two tunnels are drilled into the bones on both sides of the joint where the ACL attaches to the bone. Lastly, the graft is then passed into the joint and placed into the same position of the original ACL and then it is secured with special headless screws.
An advantage of this surgery is that the tendon replacing the ACL is as strong as or even stronger than the original. A disadvantage is that there may be a little discomfort at the front of the knee where they took the graft from but it usually goes away within a year. The other form of graft that they could do is a hamstring graft. This procedure uses the person’s own hamstring tendon from the same leg as the injured knee. Most of the same techniques are used in the hamstring graft as in the patellar graft. An advantage of this procedure is that kneeling is easier because the patella is left alone.
A disadvantage is that hamstring tendons do not grown back so the person is going to have a slight loss in hamstring strength, but this can be helped after surgery with rehabilitation (ehealthmd). The rehabilitation process is the most important part of the athletes’ recovery. The goal of the whole rehabilitation process is focused on restoring motion and strength, and improving the stability of the joint to prevent future injuries. It is vitally important for the athlete not to push themselves too much or not push themselves enough so the knee is neither under nor overworked (ehealthmd).
All of these things contribute the ongoing technological advances that are coming out to improve the recovery time and also to prevent this from ever happening. Personally, I am thankful for these advances because they have allowed me to keep doing what I love when people that this happened to only fifteen years ago was career ending. With the right attitude and the want to get back to where they were an athlete can easily get through the trials and tribulations of recovering from their ACL injury. If I can do it twice than anyone can get through it once.