Are you an athlete? Athletes who are involved in strenuous activity, including running, jumping, or pivoting, are generally at a higher risk of an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. ACL injuries may result from a direct impact to the knee, which leads to an abnormal bend of the joint. Generally, ACL injuries don’t require contact and are usually caused by improper pivoting, landing a jump, or switching directions.
The ACL is a strong structure that is one of four ligaments that stabilize the knee and rotational stability. When an ACL injury occurs, the person may feel or hear a popping sensation as the knee gives out. Quick swelling is common, and the motion of the knee is restricted, as well as putting weight on the leg.
Since ACL injuries are frequent, it is important for all individuals to know about ACL injury prevention and treatment.
ACL Injury Prevention
ACL injuries are common, but athletes can take extra steps to prevent this injury from occurring. Here are a few helpful tips for ACL injury prevention:
- Hamstring Strength – Strengthening your hamstrings is vital for preventing ACL injuries. Female athletes should focus on this measure since their hamstrings are generally weaker than their quadriceps.
- Proper Conditioning – Having quality conditioning that improves your stability and strength is helpful in reducing your risk of injury. Some training programs may include aerobics, jump and strength training, and practicing your balance. Conditioning that strengthens the hip muscles and core is essential as well.
- Improve Sporting Methods – Learning how to safely cut and land is necessary for prevention, especially for athletes involved in sports, such as basketball, soccer, tennis, etc. Improper technique during these maneuvers will more likely result in an ACL injury.
- Sporting Equipment – For some sports, making sure that your sporting gear is adjusted correctly is an essential prevention step of ACL injuries. If you are unsure about your gear, you should ask a trained professional to train you on improving your safety.
If you would like to know more about ACL injury prevention tips, talk with a healthcare professional or athletic trainer for help.
ACL Injury and Treatments
Unfortunately, ACL injuries still occur even with preventative measures. Since there is still a possibility, it’s important to know what to do if you or one of your teammates experiences an ACL injury.
At the time of the injury, ice, compression, and elevation help relieve pain and swelling in the knee. Once the injured athlete is relaxed, an appointment should be made with an orthopedic surgeon for evaluation as soon as possible. If you are in the Naples, Florida area, Dr. Goldberg can assist you with diagnosis and the extent of your ACL injury.
After your initial appointment, Dr. Goldberg may recommend either non-operative treatment options or ACL reconstruction surgery for active athletes and severe injuries.