Are You Suffering With These Telltale Signs of an ACL Tear?

Are You Suffering With These Telltale Signs of an ACL Tear?

Keeping active with exercise and playing sports is essential to maintaining good health — but these activities aren't without injury risk. One typical example for athletes and weekend warriors is tearing the anterior cruciate ligament or ACL.

 At our private practice in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Dr. Jeremy Woodson and our highly skilled staff provide the latest in innovative treatments and preventive care to adults and children of all activity levels. Whether the issue is an ACL tear, a rotator cuff injury, or another orthopedic problem, we create a personalized treatment plan to help you recover quickly.

ACL anatomy

Four important ligaments connect the thighbone and shinbone and help control the movement and motion of the joint. The ACL aids in preventing the thighbone from sliding too far backward and the shinbone from sliding too far forward, which can cause damage to the knee.

ACL tear

An ACL tear occurs when the ligament becomes partially or totally ruptured. It cannot heal or regrow on its own.

 The injury often occurs during sports and other active endeavors. Particularly risky are movements that involve stopping suddenly, slowing down quickly, changing direction, landing awkwardly after jumping, or pivoting while the foot remains planted. An impact to the knee or a collision can also tear the ACL.

Symptoms of a tear

Signs of an ACL tear include hearing or feeling a popping sensation when it first occurs. Often, there is severe pain and rapid swelling. The knee may be unable to bend, flex or bear weight, and it may give way.

Diagnosis and treatment

Diagnosis of an ACL tear begins with a physical exam that checks for swelling and tenderness. The range of motion and the function of the joint is also evaluated.

 In some cases, additional tests may be ordered to rule out other types of injury and to determine the severity of the tear. These can include X-rays, MRIs, and ultrasounds.

 Treatment begins with rest, icing the knee, wrapping it to achieve compression, and elevating it on pillows. Physical therapy is often prescribed to decrease pain and swelling, strengthen muscles, and return the knee to its complete range of motion. 

 Surgery may be recommended in some cases for athletes who want to continue playing sports involving jumping, pivoting, or cutting. Tears involving multiple ligaments or where the knee buckles during daily activities may also require surgery.

 If you've experienced a knee injury with symptoms that indicate an ACL tear, seek medical attention immediately for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Call our office today at 405-233-3602 for an appointment and find out how we can help.


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