Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries – Treatment at Erko Physio
The anterior cruciate ligament (commonly known as the ACL) is the most famous and well known ligament in the human body. You might hear people talk about it on TV, you may read about it in the newspaper, or you likely even know someone who has ‘done their ACL’.
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the major stabilising ligaments of the knee and is commonly injured in multi-directional sports such as rugby, soccer, basketball, hockey or netball. The reason they are so well known is because of the large impact it can have on the lives of famous athletes who’ve unfortunately injured them- typically ending their season of sport or occasionally their entire sporting career. It’s not just sports people who injure their ACL’s, It’s common for everyday people to injure them while skiing or snowboarding, being active amongst family and friends, or even after unexpected falls.
ACL injuries can be painful and debilitating but with careful management and rehabilitation, you can regain full function of your knee and even return to pre-injury sports and activities. In this blog post, Erko Physio will be shedding some light on this common ailment affecting the knee and the range of treatment options available.
How do ACL Injuries Occur?
ACL injuries most commonly occur in professional athletes and casual sportspeople, usually as a result of a sharp and sudden twisting movement or after landing following a jump. Whilst sports-related ACL injuries are by far the most common, they can also occur following an accidental fall, motor vehicle accident and other injuries within the home or workplace.
The anterior cruciate ligament is found inside the knee joint and it sits at the front, whilst the posterior cruciate ligament is found at the back. These ligaments help your knee to function as it should, moving back and forth with ease which is particularly important during physical activity. If you make a sudden movement and your knee buckles, this can result in a tear to the ACL.
Symptoms of an ACL Tear
If you have sustained injury to the ACL, you will usually hear a popping sound. You also may experience some of the following:
- Knee Swelling – Some hours after sustaining injury you will start to notice rapid swelling along with pain. In some cases the condition may resolve itself following rest, but you should not participate in any sports and we would always recommend seeking a professional opinion at your earliest convenience as you may otherwise cause further damage to the meniscus of your knee.
- Limited or Total Loss of Range of Motion – you may be unable to straighten your knee or bend it
- Discomfort when Walking
- Tender sensation along the joint line
Treatment of ACL Tears at Erko Physio
Here at Erko Physio we are renowned for providing outstanding sports physiotherapy services, with many of our physiotherapists having completed advanced training and having extensive experience with ACL injuries. During the initial consultation, we will examine your knee to determine the extent of the injury and formulate a suitable treatment program. In some cases X-rays or MRI scans may be necessary, and we will advise you accordingly.
Treatment options vary depending upon the severity of your condition, your age and physical abilities. Sometimes surgery is necessary in combination with physiotherapy, particularly if you are a keen participant in competitive sports and aim to restore the full range of motion within your knee. However, for older or less active people physiotherapy alone may be the most appropriate treatment, since ACL repairs are sometimes not needed for those who don’t wish to return to high level activities and sports.
Some common treatment options for ACL injuries include:
- Bracing – this can help to limit your range of motion, allowing your knee to stabilize and for ligament/bone bruising to heal. Your doctor or physio may also recommend using crutches to reduce the weight on your leg.
- Physical Therapy / Rehabilitation – A tailored exercise program will be developed, designed to help reduce pain, swelling and improve recovery outcomes. This process is rehabilitation based and aims to restore function to your knee whilst also strengthening leg muscles. Some programs such as PEP, Netball Australia’s knee programme, proprioception, high-level balance retraining, sport-specific agility and more may be incorporated to assist in your recovery. Visit Erko Physio today and we’ll find an appropriate rehabilitation program for you.
- Ice Packs – Ice packs can help to reduce pain and swelling. They should be used alongside physical therapy, and this can be particularly helpful at home.
- Surgery – Severe cases may require surgery to correct ongoing instability following physiotherapy and conservative treatments. If your aim is to restore full function to your knee, speak to your physiotherapist and they will advise accordingly. Surgery will involve rebuilding the ligament with the help of a tissue graft.
Contact Erko Physio Today – The ACL Injury Team you Can Trust
If you have sustained an ACL injury and are seeking a trusted and reliable partner to manage your rehabilitation, please get in touch with the team at Erko Physio today. An ACL injury does not necessarily spell the end of your sporting days. Surgery combined with an appropriate rehabilitation program could see you returning to your favourite sport sooner than you might think.
Erko Physio invites you to schedule an appointment with one of our sports physiotherapists today. We look forward to assisting you on your recovery journey.