The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) gets its name from that fact that it, along with its partner, form an X-shape inside your knee. If you sprain or tear this ligament, however, you might think of it more as the excruciating ligament. Here is more information about this type of injury from NuView Health Medical in New York, NY.
The anterior cruciate ligament performs a few roles. It controls the back and forth motion of the knee, keeps the tibia (shin bone) from sliding out in front of the femur (thigh bone), and provides the knee with rotational stability.
Sprains and tears are the most common anterior cruciate injuries. Sprains involve the overstretching of the ligament, and they are graded according to severity. A grade 1 sprain has caused enough overstretching to hurt, but the ligament is still tight enough to provide joint stability. At grade 2, the ligament has loosened enough to result in some instability. Grade 3 is an outright tear of the ligament – often into separate pieces.
Pain, loss of stability, swelling, tenderness along the joint line, and loss of range of motion are symptoms of all three grades, with the severity of the symptoms increasing as the grade does.
One of the biggest causes of these injuries is changing direction, especially when done suddenly. This motion is prevalent in sports like football and basketball and combined with the speed allowed by the size of the field/court, it’s easy to put too much torque on the knee.
Other risky activities also involve motions commonly found in strenuous sports. Sudden stops, slowing down while running, incorrectly landing after a jump, and being tackled are all top causes of this injury.
Initial treatment depends on the severity of the strain, so the first step is to have your knee evaluated by a medical professional. Complete tearing of the ACL is common, so surgery is frequently needed.
Once the acute problem is taken care of, it’s time to rehabilitate the knee. This is how you regain strength and flexibility. Our New York chiropractor will work with you to devise a physical therapy program that matches your current abilities and your future goals.
If you have damaged your anterior cruciate ligament or have undergone surgery to repair one, come to NuView Health Medical in New York to get started on bringing your knee back up to what it should be.
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