Common Causes of ACL Injuries

Causes of ACL Injuries

“ACL injury” is a phrase that athletes never want to hear. The ACL, short for anterior cruciate ligament, is a major ligament in your knee that is responsible for keeping the knee from buckling. An injury to this ligament prevents it from functioning and can cause the knee to buckle and become unstable.

As you can imagine, ACL injuries are a big deal to athletes who need to run and turn and jump a lot. However, athletes are not the only ones who need to worry about an ACL injury. ACL injuries are caused by a sudden twisting motion to your knee or an impact directly to the knee. This can occur from an incident like an automobile accident or falling down the stairs.

What to do if you have an ACL injury

The symptoms of an ACL injury are pretty distinct. Most patients describe hearing a loud pop when the injury occurred. Other symptoms include:

  • Severe pain in the knee
  • Loss of mobility
  • Swelling
  • A loose, unstable feeling in the knee

You should see a physician for a diagnosis if you have these symptoms. An examination, x-ray and MRI can help identify if the cause of your pain is an ACL injury or something else. 

Treating an ACL injury with physical therapy

ACL treatments vary depending on the nature of the injury and your needs. Your ACL may be torn or it may be stretched. In both cases, physical therapy can help. 

The common goal of physical therapy is to help reduce pain and swelling while building the strength of the muscles around your knee and restoring range of motion. Many patients recover within weeks and do not require surgery.

However, if the ligament is fully torn and you are an athlete who wishes to continue competing, you may need reconstructive surgery. If you do need surgery for your ACL injury, physical therapy can help you have a fast and less painful recovery.

If you or someone you know has had a knee injury, you should speak with a medical professional about physical therapy treatment. And, you can always talk with the physical therapists at Excel Sports & Physical Therapy about your treatment options. Contact us today if you would like to schedule an appointment.