What to do After Suffering a Torn ACL?

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What to do After Suffering a Torn ACL?

One of the most common knee injuries is a torn anterior cruciate ligament or ACL. Your ACL is a ligament that runs through the center of the knee and connects the femur to the shin. It stops the shin bone from moving forward past the thigh bone when making sudden stops or changes of direction when running. ACL tears are most commonly a result of playing sports. Although, they can also happen to people who work physically demanding jobs. Surgery is often required following an ACL tear. However, there are nonsurgical options. A doctor decides which treatment method is appropriate for the patient based on age, the injury’s severity, and the person’s overall fitness. No matter what, you will have to undergo physical therapy and proper rehabilitation to avoid long-term issues.

Using R.I.C.E 

Immediately after you suspect you have torn your ACL, R.I.C.E is the best way to reduce pain and swelling until you can go to a doctor. 

  •  R stands for rest. Keep weight off of the injured knee. 
  •  I stand for Ice. Ice the injured knee for 20 minutes at a time.
  •  C stands for compression. Compress the knee with an elastic bandage or wrap.
  •  E stands for elevation. Position your leg above your heart when resting.

Nonsurgical treatment

In less severe cases, some patients can recover fully without surgery. However, nonsurgical treatment requires long rehabilitation through physical therapy. This method is for older patients who are less active and are willing to give up physically demanding activities. The patient must wear a knee brace and undergo extensive physical therapy to recover. 

After Surgery

After a torn ACL, reconstruction surgery is necessary for athletes or people who want to continue performing physically demanding activities. Directly following surgery, the knee joint must be kept straight. While it will not be comfortable, it is vital to give the joint time to heal before stressing out your newly fixed ACL. Also, you must not put any weight on the injured knee until your surgeon says it is okay, so crutches or a wheelchair are required. A knee brace will also need to be worn to protect and stabilize the knee, and while it gets itchy and uncomfortable, it is imperative to wear it as much as possible to speed up recovery. Finally, rehabilitation through physical therapy is also essential for a successful recovery. While physical therapy will be annoying and painful, one must persevere and continue with therapy as prescribed. While everyone wants to get back to normalcy as soon as possible, your therapist and doctor will let you know when you can ease into the activities you love again. 

Featured Clinician: Anthony Maritato, PT 

FEATURED CLINICIAN: Anthony Maritato, PT Anthony Maritato, PT, MSPT, is a licensed physical therapist and co-founder of Total Therapy Solutions, a private practice outpatient physical therapy business that focuses on

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