We’ve all seen it happen when we’re watching a game on TV or even in person. An athlete goes down, sometimes without any contact, clutching their knee.
Chances are, they’ve injured their ACL and won’t be able to play for quite some time while they heal. When you think of how an ACL injury is treated, you may usually think of surgery, but nonsurgical treatment can treat the injury as well.
Read on to find out more about how Neuropathy and Pain Centers of Texas can treat an ACL injury nonsurgically.
What is an ACL injury?
Your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of two major ligaments found in your knee. It’s a strong rope of tissue that connects your femur to your tibia and provides stability for your knee.
Most ACL injuries occur during sports activities that involve movements such as a sudden change of direction, jumping and landing, a quick stop, or collisions or tackles. These often take place in sports such as basketball, soccer, football, and skiing.
If you sustain a suspected ACL injury, your doctor will likely order an X-ray and MRI to check for damage. Common ACL injuries include a sprain, a partial tear, or a complete tear.
How nonsurgical treatment works
If you have a complete tear, your ligament will not heal on its own, so surgery is the only option to reconstruct and repair the ligament. This is usually recommended if you’re active in your job or sports and if you need stability in your knee to be able to move, cut, and turn. Surgery is also recommended if you have additional injuries in your knee in addition to your ACL tear.
If you have a sprain or a partial tear, or if you don’t need to be active, your doctor may recommend nonsurgical treatment. Initial treatment will include icing your knee several times a day, keeping your knee above the level of your heart, compressing the knee with a bandage, avoiding activity for a few weeks, and taking anti-inflammatory medicine such as ibuprofen to reduce swelling.
Once the initial swelling has subsided, treatment will include physical therapy and rehabilitation to help you regain muscle strength in your quadricep (thigh) muscles, hamstrings, and hips in order to support your knee.
Physical therapy will also help you improve your range of motion, balance, and stability as you recover from your injury. If after a few months of treatment your knee is still unstable, you may need to consider having surgery to repair the ACL.
If you have experienced an ACL injury and are looking for treatment options, our expert team at the Neuropathy and Pain Centers of Texas will be happy to guide you. Just find our office location closest to you and call for an appointment — or request your own appointment with our online scheduler — to start your healing journey.