One of the most feared injuries for athletes is an ACL tear. As one of the four ligaments that stabilize the knee, a minor tear or complete rupture of the ACL could mean months of recovery or possibly an end to playing sports. An injury to the ACL can cause the knee to give out and increase the possibility of injuring other parts of the knee.
Most ACL injuries occur from:
- Abruptly changing directions while running - such as in basketball, football, soccer, skiing, volleyball and more
- Falling after a jump or landing wrong
- Weak muscles that have affected the stability of the knee
- Receiving a direct blow to the knee
Symptoms of a torn ACL:
- A loud popping sound or sensation in your knee
- Significant pain in the knee
- Decrease in range of motion
- Difficulty bearing weight
Once the ACL has been torn, surgery will be needed to repair it to return full function to the knee.
You may be able to reduce your risk of an ACL injury by following these helpful training tips:
- Always stretch during your warm up before beginning your physical activity
- Do strength-training exercises including squats and lunges that build up the muscles around your knee
- Keep in shape during your sport’s off-season by continuing to workout
- See your doctor for a physical before the season starts to identify any potential weaknesses in which preventative measures should be taken
- Strengthen your leg muscles, including your hamstrings
Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent additional injuries and put you on the road to recovery as quickly as possible. If you should suffer an ACL injury that requires surgery, ask your physician about having surgery at Iowa City Ambulatory Surgical Center.