ACL Injuries And How They Are Treated

If you watch professional sports, then you have probably heard the phrase "torn ACL" before. However, it isn't often explained what a torn ACL entails. Is there surgery involved? Therapy? A torn ACL is an incredibly common injury that affects many more than professional athletes, so it is important to understand what they are, even if you aren't in the NFL.

What is the ACL?

The anterior cruciate ligament (more commonly known as the ACL), is a ligament in the knee. Rigorous physical activity can result in a torn ACL, which is both incredibly painful and immobilizing. If the average person tears an ACL, then they might have to undergo therapy in order to heal it. However if an athlete tears an ACL, then they are likely to undergo serious surgery in order to repair the damage. This is because they cannot afford to wait for it to heal naturally with only some light therapy. In order to perform out on the field, athletes need to get their ACLs healthy as fast as possible.

How do you tear your ACL?

If you "hyperextend" your knee, then there is a good chance that you will tear your ACL. Hyperextension is what happens when the angle between two specific body parts becomes too large. The human knee has a natural bend limit and is not meant to extend past a certain point. If that does happen during physical exertion, then you can tear important ligaments inside your leg, resulting in a torn ACL or PCL. Some specific actions that tear ACLs are: landing hard on one foot or a knee rotating incorrectly while landing.

PCL injuries are not as common as ACL injuries, but they are very similar. The two make up a pair of important ligaments in the leg, and damage to either can make motion of the knee incredibly painful or even impossible.

How do you fix a torn ACL?

As was mentioned earlier, therapy and surgery are both valid solutions for a torn ACL. If the situation is severe, then surgery might be required regardless of whether you are an athlete or not. Therapy can take many months to complete, and the aid of a specialized orthopedic surgeon might be required.

What is orthopedics?

Although it is commonly discussed as "sports medicine," orthopedics is the general field of surgery relating to the musculoskeletal system, which is responsible for moving the human body. The connection to sports stems from the fact that athletes commonly suffer from muscular or skeletal injuries due to their high levels of physical activity. Additionally, their high visibility in the media means that any injuries they suffer are widely publicized.

If you're in need of therapy for an ACL injury or other sports injury, visit Orthopedic Rehab.