The knee is made up of four bones: the fibula, tibia, femur, and the patella bone, or knee cap. Ligaments in the knee act as a brace that holds everything together. The anterior cruciate ligament, or the ACL, provides 85% of the stability of the knee, so tearing it either partially or completely can cause pain, swelling, and loss of functionality. 

ACL injuries are commonly seen among individuals who are highly active. Certain movements that tend to cause ACL tears include: 

  • Landing flat-footed from a jump
  • Overextending your knee joint
  • Changing direction quickly
  • Changing speed while running

You can also injure your ACL if the side of your knee is hit. For example, this kind of trauma could be caused by a car accident or in tackle football. 

Recognizing the Symptoms of an ACL Tear

If you suspect that you’ve torn your ACL, here are some of the common symptoms that you may experience: 

  • A popping sensation in the knee
  • Severe pain and inability to continue activity
  • Rapid swelling in the knee
  • Discomfort while walking
  • Tenderness along the joint 
  • Loss of full range of motion

Preventing an ACL Tear

  1. Train consistently. Many injuries occur after a period of inactivity, which leaves muscles and ligaments tight and weak. Consistent training and exercising throughout the year strengthens the muscles around the knee and makes them more flexible, preventing many ACL tears. 
  2. Properly warm-up. Take the time to ensure your muscles and ligaments are ready for more vigorous activity. 
  3. Make sure you’re maintaining proper form while working out/participating in a sport. Practicing proper form will decrease your risk for injuries in general. 
  4. Maintain your nutrition. Eating healthy and ensuring you’re eating enough proper foods to fuel your body will help prevent an ACL tear and other sports injuries. Not properly fueling your body can cause fatigue, which often causes someone to lose focus on their form during exercise, which can lead to injury. 

If you experience any of the above mentioned symptoms, don’t hesitate to give us a call to schedule your appointment. A proper diagnosis, as well as prompt treatment, will ensure that you have a smooth recovery and will be able to return to activity and exercise. Ignoring a torn ACL can potentially lead to further injury. 

Based on the severity of the ACL tear, Dr. Hicken will recommend a treatment plan to best fit your needs. Treatments can range from rest and physical therapy to a surgical procedure to repair this. You can trust that the treatment recommended for you will be in your best interest and will help you recover most effectively from your ACL tear. Dr. Hicken has advanced training with these types of injuries, you can trust him to provide the highest quality of healthcare.

To schedule your appointment with Dr. Hicken, please give us a call at 435-787-2000.