Each year, there are about 150,000 to 200,000 anterior cruciate ligament injuries, most typically caused by sport injuries involving pivoting, cutting, jumping, and contact. Female athletes are at the highest risk for injury. The anterior cruciate ligament is a vital ligament of the knee, helping to maintain the stability of the joint.
Symptoms of an ACL sprain or tear include feeling a “pop” within the knee, swelling and loss of mobility in the knee, feeling of instability when standing on the knee,and severe pain. Typically, symptoms are severe enough to cause you to stop the activity you were performing when you injured yourself.
The anterior cruciate ligament is one of the ligaments connecting the two main leg bones, the femur and tibia. The ACL prevents the tibia, or “shin bone” from moving forward. Pivoting, cutting, jumping, contact sports, or quick stops can cause ACL tears and sprains.
Certain factors can increase your risk of tearing or spraining your ACL. These factors include being female, wearing shoewear that is not appropriate or that does not fit as it should, playing sports on turf, decreased strength, and specific sports.
At Specialized Physical Therapy, we will conduct a thorough medical history review focused on your injury and symptoms. Your physical therapist will discuss what led to the ACL tear or sprain, discuss the surgery if you have had one, and assess your swelling, mobility and strength. Your treatment program will be created based on your presentation, whether or not you have had or will have surgery, and what your goals are.
Treatment and Exercises
After a thorough initial evaluation, your therapist will create an individualized physical therapy program to diminish your symptoms as quickly as possible. The program will include stretches, massage, mobilizations, and strengthening exercises specific to what you want to return to doing, from walking to playing basketball.