August 1, 2019
Imagine Physical Therapy
Every football season we hear about ACL tears. Your number one fantasy football lead goes down in the second game of the season. The announcers get on and say that he may have a nasty ACL tear. Your mind flashes back to basketball season, thinking of your favorite March Madness star and how the same thing happened to him, sidelining him for weeks. You know that there is a trauma involved, but what else? And further, how can they even play again after someone has landed, sideways on their knee?
The anterior cruciate ligament is made up of collagen, found in between the femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (shin bone). The ACL is pulled at it’s tightest in knee flexion and at moments when the knee bends in, in sort of a knock kneed position. Most commonly, when the ACL is injured the person is standing with the foot out, in 10-20 degrees of knee bend, trying to slow down. In essence, the two big bones in your leg are twisting in opposite directions. 70% of ACL injuries happen in non-contact situations. So really, no one needs to land on you.
There are up to 350,000 ACL tears that happen every year. Most of the patients that tear their ACL are young, athletic and play sports such as football, basketball, snowboarding, skiing, volleyball and soccer.
Often, in an ACL tear, there will be a popping sound or sensation, bruising, swelling, and in some cases the knee may be strong and painless, but hypermobile. When you come in for a physical therapy consultation or initial evaluation at Imagine Physical Therapy we will look at the integrity of the joint. We may want to work with your general practitioner to get an x-ray or MRI of the knee.
There are two main types of treatment: surgery followed with physical therapy or conservative physical therapy alone. Which type you get depends on who you are, how severe the injury, what you like to do and other lifestyle factors to be discussed between you and your medical team. Generally, there is a time when you may be on crutches with a brace to protect the knee. Exercises, including isometrics and open chain work will be done to strengthen around the knee, before moving on to resistance work, strengthening and then higher activities such as plyometrics that will help you return to your favorite sport.
At Imagine Physical Therapy in the Charleston area, we help everyone from Wando athletes to professional dancers to weekend warriors to working folks. We have seen knee patients as young as 5 and as old as 95. We are here to get you better faster and to stay stronger longer, offering imaginably more than you could have hoped for. For all of your physical therapy questions, concerns, or to schedule an appointment, contact our team at Imagine Physical Therapy today!