When it comes to athletic knee injuries, a tear or rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is quite common. Because ligaments are responsible for holding your bones together at the joints, a damaged ligament can cause joint instability and reduced performance.
In your knee, the ACL is one of four ligaments that attach your femur to the patella (knee cap) and the tibia, or shin bone. The ACL helps prevent the tibia from sliding out in front of the femur and provides rotational stability during physical activity. During sports, the knee is subjected to high force loads that demand a strong and stable joint. An injured ACL can undermine your confidence during play and set you up for further injury.
In addition to athletic trauma, the ACL can become damaged due to wear and tear associated with aging and physical inactivity. About 50 percent of the time, a knee injury involves damage to multiple structures, including cartilage, meniscus, ACL and other ligaments. Although knee injuries are common in contact sports like American football, about 80 percent of ACL injuries do not arise from contact with another player.
Causes of ACL injury include:
Sports with the highest risk of ACL injury include basketball, soccer, American football, volleyball, downhill skiing, lacrosse, and tennis.
When you tear your ACL, you are likely to feel a “popping” sensation followed by the feeling of your knee giving way and extreme pain. Ligament injuries are considered sprains, and are categorized by severity.
Grade 1 Sprain: Mild damage, with slight stretching of the ligament, but it is still able to provide stability.
Grade 2 Sprain: The ligament is stretched to the point where it becomes loose, compromising stability, often called a partial tear.
Grade 3 Sprain: A complete tear of the ligament, splitting it in two, making the joint extremely unstable. The majority of ACL injuries are Grade 3.
Symptoms of an injured ACL include:
An ACL injury is usually diagnosed via a physical exam and a patient history that details the injury onset. At NYDNR, we confirm our diagnosis with high-resolution diagnostic ultrasound, which provides high sensitivity, high specificity and high diagnostic ability, enabling us to determine the extent and severity of injury. Accurate diagnosis is key to rehabilitation and return to play.
Many people assume that surgery is the best solution to resolve ACL injuries. However, research has shown that outcomes from surgery are often no better in the long run than conservative ACL physical therapy. Moreover, surgery may provide structural repair, but it does not address underlying mechanical issues that may have contributed to the injury.
Athletes in particular need both physical and psychological rehabilitation, to restore confidence and reduce the risk of future injuries. If you do undergo surgery, you should seek the best post-surgery ACL tear physical therapy from a qualified sports medicine professional.
At NYDNR, we offer a broad range of individualized treatments and physical therapy for a torn ACL, including:
The sports medicine team at NYDNR is dedicated to making sure you are ready, physically and psychologically, to return to play with confidence and minimal risk of re-injury,
Before explaining what types of sprained ACL treatment plans exist, it is important to discuss what exactly this ligament is and why it’s so important. The ACL is a wide ligament that connects the anterior tibial plateau to the posterior femoral intercondylar notch. The ACL is made up of many different non-parallel fibers, with each serving a unique purpose from one another. There is the anteromedial, posterolateral and intermediate bundles to name a few. Of course, the fiber lengths and rotations brought upon by flexion varies from one movement to the next.
However, as far as what purpose the ACL serves in the body, there are so many to talk about. For starters, the ACL holds back the anterior translation of the tiba and stops the hyperextension of the knee. It also behaves as a secondary stabilizer to valgus stress by supplementing the medial collateral ligament. Lastly, the ACL regulates rotation of the tibia on the femur in femoral extensions.
While there can be a bunch of different factors that cause an ACL rupture, the most common reason for this is a strong forceful blow impacting the knee, resulting in a twisting movement. This can either come from a direct hit or an indirect hit. In fact, this may come as a surprise, but around half of the times there’s an ACL injury there was no contact at all. An ACL injury can happen when doing simple actions like side-stepping, landing from a jump or even just pivoting. Obviously, an ACL rupture can happen to anyone if the circumstances are right, but some people are just overall more predisposed to it. In fact, a lot of times patients suffer bilateral ACL tears or this even ends up becoming a familial thing.
Keep in mind, when an ACL is injured, there are various ACL strain treatment plans that when employed will leave the individual in top shape once again. However, to decide which treatment for a torn ACL is best, there are certain factors that have to be considered. These factors are age, functional disability and requirements. That is because there are some people in this world who can survive perfectly fine with a torn ACL. It is these specific factors, though, that can help doctors make a final decision if there should be ACL treatment without surgery or with it. Remember, different surgical problems may arise depending on how old or young the individual is. Besides age, functional disability is also an important factor to keep in mind because there are certain individuals whose knees give out often and then those who have an undiagnosed asymptomatic rupture altogether. Each of these will affect the exact treatment for ACL tear. Then, with functional requirements, it is vital to know if the individual is someone who lives a sedentary lifestyle or if this is a person who is always on the go.
As with any type of injury, each case is going to differ from individual to individual. The overall type of patient, though, will either be able to be treated with surgery on demand or need no surgery whatsoever. However, it is best to get some kind of treatment for ACL tear performed right away to avoid any issues down the line from this injury. While most do need to be operated on, here at NY Dynamic Neuromuscular Rehabilitation, we do not believe that is the only option. There are many long-term therapy programs that can be implemented instead.
Since this is a very serious injury, it is important to note that it won’t heal on its own overnight. To get back in top shape, the patient will need to put in a lot of hard work and have patience. Typically, once ACL sprain treatment is in place, the individual will be repaired in anywhere from six to nine months. However, with our help here at NY Dynamic Neuromuscular Rehabilitation, we will focus on a regenerative ACL tear treatment without surgery. We also offer partial ACL tear treatment and other kinds of similar programs to restore the patient back to their original condition. Unfortunately, too many times in the past, patients do not allow themselves enough time to truly recover. This ends up causing individuals to get re-injured. With NY Dynamic Neuromuscular Rehabilitation by your side, we will make sure that you are treated the right way, the first time around.
We will not only be able to diagnose your ACL tear but also help restore your sprain with treatment for a torn ACL, so that you can function fully again. We will help patients fix any imperfections in their movements, as well as correct any movement that originally led to the ACL sprain treatment. Other than this, the ACL tear treatment without surgery works to make the muscles stronger, so that they don’t leave them self vulnerable to such a sprain. In particular, the quadricepts and gluteals are strengthened. By simply doing these kinds of exercises to build the muscles, patients are preventing an ACL sprain from happening in the future.
The newest ACL treatment without surgery that we’ve been employing here at New York Dynamic Neuromuscular Rehabilitation is biofeedback motor control training. This is the most advanced sprained ACL treatment offered, as it takes real-life force plate analysis into play. From there, we can see exactly how patients are progressing and developing, so that we can make the necessary tweaks and adjustments right away. This helps make the ACL strain treatment as efficient as possible, so that recovery and results can happen quick. Give us a call today to schedule your consultation.