What Is An ACL Knee Injury

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One of the most commonly injured parts of the body is the knee. It is susceptible to various injuries because of the activities people engage into such as sports i.e., soccer. A direct, forceful blow coming from the outside towards the knee can cause twist and turns of the knee and its accessory structures – the ligaments. The knees have four (4) ligaments that help stabilize the knee. It limits how far the bones of the joint can move to prevent dislocation. The two cruciate ligaments cross over each other on the inside the knee joint and limit front-to-back motion. The two collateral ligaments are outside the knee joint and limit side-to-side motion. However, due to certain circumstances, these ligaments are damaged and one of which is called Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) knee injury.

ACL is one of four major knee ligaments. It is critical to knee stability, because it prevents excessive motion of the knee joint. Torn ACL is also known as knee sprain. ACL injuries are most common in people who play contact sports.  It can also occur during rough play, mover vehicle collisions, falls, and work-related injuries. In fact, about 80% of sports-related ACL injuries are due to non-contact injuries. Hence, the injury can be obtained even though there is no direct contact between two people, it can be acquired even when pivoting or landing from a high jump.

The most common complaints of people affected with ACL injuries are: knee pain, swelling immediately or within few hours after the injury, stiffness, and bruising. The person may also hear a “pop” sound from the inside of the knee.  The most common symptom is that the victim will feel as if the knee is giving out. Also, walking would be really painful and the knee feels unstable. The feeling of instability is caused by the bones in knee joint sliding too far as a result of the damaged cartilage.

First aid management includes: stabilizing the knee through immobilization, and call immediately medical help. Ice compress can also help by limiting the swelling of the injured part, also, if there are bleeding, it can help by constricting the vessels for it not to lose more blood. If possible, the affected knee can also be elevated above the heart. However, it is much better to be careful when giving first aid management so as not to cause further injury to the victim.

Treatment for ACL injuries varies depending on the degree of its severity and how active the person is. Mild to moderate ACL injuries may heal on its own, however, it is still sensible to seek medical advise. Here are some ways on how can you speed up the healing process of the ACL knee injury:

-          Adequate rest for the knee. Walking after the incident is not advisable for it can cause pressure to the affected part. Remember, the knees are weight-bearing joints, hence, you may need crutches for some time to assist you mobilize from one place to another.

-          Cold compress. This will help reduce swelling and pain. It can be applied for about 20 to 30 minutes, but it depends upon the suggestion of your healthcare provider.

-          Elevate your knee. Elevation of the knee through a pillow or anything will help reduce swelling and inflammation.

-          Take analgesics. Pain-killers such as your NSAID’s or Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help alleviate the pain for some time, but you must first ask the opinion of the doctor regarding the use of analgesics.

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