A torn ACL is an injury that involves a tear or sprain of the anterior cruciate ligament of the knee. This is one of the major ligaments of the knee and damage to it can occur during sports that require sudden stops or changes in direction of movement. Such sports may include soccer, football or even downhill skiing. You can also experience a torn ACL if you play a sport that requires plenty of jumping and (awkward) landing, e.g. basketball. You should seek immediate treatment if you think you have received an ACL tear or sprain as it is a potentially serious knee injury.
Other potential causes of an ACL injury are landing awkwardly from a jump. You can also receive this type of injury if you receive a direct blow to your knee, such as during a collision with another athlete, for example.
Symptoms Of A Torn ACL
Symptoms of an ACL injury can include some or all of:
a popping sensation in your knee;
Severe pain and swelling of the knee;
Reduced range of motion of the knee;
A feeling that your knee is “giving way” or instability, when you try to put weight on the knee.
A torn ACL is a potentially serious knee injury and you should seek medical help immediately if you think you have experienced one.
As with many injuries of this type, treatment of your torn ACL will start with resting the damaged ligaments and allowing them a chance to heal. To do so, try to avoid placing weight on the knee. Additionally, you can help to reduce stress on the knee by wearing a knee brace like one of those shown below.
Besides rest, treatment of your ACL tear or sprain should include:
Ice to reduce the pain, swelling and inflammation;
Compression from a knee sleeve or brace like the ones below;
Elevation – try to keep your knee elevated above the level of your heart. Spend as much time as possible lying or sitting down with your knee elevated.
If your ACL injury is a serious one, a hinged knee brace or other knee support can help to take the load off the knee and reduce the recovery time. For more information on how a hinged knee brace can help treat an ACL tear or sprain, please read this post.
How To Reduce The Risk Of Getting An ACL Injury
If you have experienced an ACL injury in the past and would like to reduce the risk of its recurrence, you can ask a physiotherapist to devise an exercise program that can help achieve this. This program will strengthen your leg and core muscles.
You can also hire a coach to help you improve your jumping and landing technique. Improving your technique for pivoting and changing direction while running at high speed can also reduce the risk of a torn ACL knee injury.