ACL or anterior cruciate ligament is a knee ligament that provides support and stability to your knee joint. The tough fibers that the ACL is made from limits the flexibility of the joint.
A most common injury that occurs is the rupture of ACL. An ACL injury is mostly sports-related, it can occur at any moment when the ligaments are under stress such as jumping and running. About 80% of ACL injuries are not due to rough play like tackling or impacts.
Most ACL tears happen when the person lands on his foot at an angle which puts the ligament under tension and knees slide away causing the injury.
The rate of female athletes getting ACL injury is more compared to male athletes whilst participating in competitions but it is not clear why this occurs in female athletes more but doctors believe it is related to hormonal and physical endurance levels.
A lot of sports involve the use of ACL like sudden changes in movement, pivoting and sliding. The sports that require movement like these include football, basketball, tennis, squash, rugby, gymnastics etc. Everyday tasks can be carried out in ACL injuries but sports like these can prove to be difficult. Therefore, athletes have to undergo surgery in order to resume their career but even after surgery, it’s often hard for athletes to play like they used to. ACL injuries have ended a lot of promising careers.
If you are looking for a local specialist, you can search for an ACL injury doctor in Pakistan.
Symptoms & Diagnosis of an ACL injury?
Diagnosis of ACL injury can be carried out in many ways. Patients often complain about knee pain after a sport-related injury. Swelling around the knee can be observed and patents often say they heard something “pop”.
A knee examination is carried out where the doctor applies stress on the anterior cruciate ligament and detects ACL rupture.
MRI scans are also carried out to determine if ACL rupture occurred or not. It also helps to detect additional damage caused at an affected area such as meniscus damage which occurs commonly in ACL rupture. In critical cases, X-Rays are also used.
Types of ACL injuries?
Grade I sprain
The fibers of the ligaments are stretched but there is no tear, there is little swelling on the knee and the knee feels comparatively stable during activities.
Grade II sprain
The ligaments have a slight tear and a moderate amount of swelling can be seen around the knee.
The knee might feel unstable during activities.
Grade III sprain
The ligaments are completely torn or detached into two parts, swelling is little or a lot depending on the seriousness of the injury. According to an ACL injury doctor in Pakistan, the ligaments can’t control the joint and the knee feels unstable.
Tips to speed up ACL recovery
- Apply Ice
Cryotherapy accelerates the healing process by reducing metabolic activity which limits tissue damage and frees up more oxygen for healing. It also helps reduce pain as it numbs the affected area.
- Apply Pressure
Pressure is beneficial for reducing swelling and help circulate blood.
- Raise your leg
Raising your leg a few weeks after surgery is helpful as there is a lot of fluid in the knee joint. Support your leg with a pillow at the ankle or foot but not under the knee as it can hinder the recovery.
- Physical therapy
The goal of physical therapy is to straighten your leg as much as you can. The more you straighten your leg the faster the recovery. The full joint extension is one of the primary indicators of recovery and typically the main focus of rehab after ACL surgery. Get an appointment with a physiotherapist, without delay.
- Follow the doctor’s instruction
After surgery, the surgeon will provide you with specific instructions like scheduled visits and a physiotherapist to start a rehabilitation program. All you need to do is to adhere to the instructions of your ACL injury doctor in Pakistan.
- Perform ACL rehab exercises
ACL rehab exercises can work wonders. The exercises are advised by your physiotherapist after considering your age, health & fitness levels and the seriousness of the surgery you have undergone for fixing the ACL injury.
- Proper Nutrition
Eating well and healthy after surgery help improves recovery, eat foods rich in protein like red meat and fish and other foods such as vegetables, citrus fruits, and dairy. Limit foods like coffee, alcohol, and sodas.
- Good amount of sleep
While sleeping your body repairs tissue faster and promotes healing. You should at least get 8 hours of sleep per day and try to sleep without using sleeping pills.
- Take your medications as prescribed
Never self-medicate during recovery from an ACL injury. Always take medicine as prescribed by your consultant. If new medications including multivitamins or supplements need to be added, discuss it with your specialist first. If you need to restart a medicine after surgery, please discuss it with your doctor first.
- Tell your doctor about any discomfort
If you feel pain, develop a fever or feel anything abnormal tell your doctor immediately.
- Use relaxation exercises
If your body and mind are relaxed your recovery will be faster and you will feel comfortable.
- Depend on people
After the surgery you might not be able to carry out some tasks, it is advised to ask for help from loved ones to help you out with that task so you don’t exert excessive strength and worsen your injury.
In addition to all the above, there are certain things you can do at your home to expedite the recovery process. You can install detachable shower heads for easier cleaning of the body and get a backpack to help you keep the important items you may need. You may consider rearranging the room settings to make more walking space around the house so you can freely use your crutches or wheelchair if required. Don’t forget to remove any sort of rugs so you might not trip over them and attach cords to the doors so they are easier to reach and open.
Last but not least, keep your mind busy but not your knees. Try to adopt new hobbies not related to sports, maybe peruse things you didn’t have time for before. This way your mind won’t go into depression rather you will feel happy and gain recovery to your body faster.
An ACL injury is serious and you need to take good care of yourself during recovery. Make sure you keep in mind all the above-mentioned points and follow the doctor’s instructions very strictly for a swift and full recovery.