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Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Sports Injuries - Diagnosis And Treatment

Diagnosis of ACL Injuries

Detailed History: Your doctor will want to hear exactly how you injured your knee. He’ll look at both the knees to see if the sore one looks different.

Clinical Examination: Your doctor may ask you to lie on your back and bend your hips and/or your knees at certain angles. He’ll then place his hands on different parts of your leg and gently shift you around. If any of your bones move in a way that isn’t normal, that could be a sign that your ACL is damaged.

X-ray: Soft tissues like the ACL don’t appear on X-rays, but your doctor may want to rule out broken bones.

MRI or ultrasound: These exams can show both soft tissue and bone. If you have a damaged ACL, it should appear on the images.

Arthroscopy: This literally means to “look within the joint.” During the exam, an orthopedic surgeon makes a small cut in your skin. He inserts a pencil-sized tool that contains a lighting system and lens (arthroscope) into the joint. The camera projects an image of the joint onto a TV screen. Your doctor can see what type of injury you have and repair or correct it, if needed.

 

Treatment:

Treatment depends on how badly you’ve been hurt. Here are some of the options your doctor may give you:

First aid: If your injury is minor, you may only need to put ice on your knee, elevate your leg, and stay off your feet for a while. You can reduce swelling by wrapping an ace bandage around your knee. Crutches can help to keep weight off your knee.

Medications: Anti-inflammatory drugs can help to reduce swelling and pain. Your doctor may suggest over-the-counter medications or prescribe something stronger. For intense pain, your doctor may inject your knee with steroid medication.

Knee brace: Some people with a damaged ACL can get by with wearing a brace on their knee when they run or play sports. It provides extra support.

Physical therapy: You may need this a few days a week to get your knee back in working order. During your sessions with physiotherapist, you’ll do exercises to strengthen the muscles around your knee and help you regain a full range of motion. You may be sent home with exercise to do on your own.

Surgery: Your doctor may tell you that you need this if your ACL is torn badly, if your knee gives way when you’re walking, or if you’re an athlete.  The Surgery is called Arthroscopic ACL reconstruction in which Surgeon will remove the damaged ACL and replace it with a Hamstring Autograft. With Post surgical rehabilitation and Proprioceptive and strengthening exercises patients can often play sports again within 6-8 months.